I thought that Aktaion’s debut album Throne was a great combination of aggressive melodic death metal and sing-along catchiness. It showed a band that was not willing to compromise on either, striking the right balance of both.
So how have they done on this latest release? Well, essentially they have pulled out all of the stops and everything is bigger, better, bolder and brighter than before. Well, I say bright, but in actuality this is an album that has more darkness than light, (just as a metal album should have).
The fast parts are more aggressive, the mid-paced parts more ripping, the reflective parts more considered, the progressive parts more exploratory, the melodies more engaging and the heavy parts just plain heavier. What more can you ask for? They’ve taken the format of the debut album and ramped everything up.
The vocals are better than ever too, with the screams and growls sounding nastier and the cleans soaring high and far. The singer gives a first-rate performance throughout, no matter the vocal style employed.
The production, similar to the first album, is rawer and grittier than a lot of releases of this type, revelling in the grim underground nature of metal rather than going for the more polished, commercial sound, as they could so easily have done. This merely cements the band’s intention to be authentically metal with melodic accoutrements, rather than a generic metalcore clone, which nobody needs more of. This is the real deal.
Added to this are the progressive elements of their sound, carried forwards from their debut too. These allow the band to deliver much more to the listener than just the same old tired modern metal cliches that the aforementioned generic metalcore clones usually provide.
This manifests itself in longer-than-average tracks that take the heaviness of the style and twist it into exploratory passages, deepening the impact of the songs. Combined with some quality guitar solos and effective songwriting, it enables the music on this album to not only have instant appeal, but also lasting longevity and effect.
The Parade of Nature shows that Aktion’s debut was not a fluke. They continue to play modern metal that effectively combines the grit and passion of aggressive metal with the melodic accoutrements of the more commercial versions, but with none of the dross.
Top marks, top band. Check this out.