Ohio-Based progressive/psychedelic heavy rock collective AKULA – featuring within its ranks members of Lo-Pan – unveiled its self-titled debut last week via Hellmistress Records.
Initially self-released digitally earlier this year, the record features four immersive tracks weighted as much in tone as emotional resonance. AKULA runs an atmospheric gamut led by the undulating and spacious riffing of guitarist Chris Thompson and Sergei Parfenov and the soulful melodies of vocalist Jeff Martin. Toilet Ov Hell hails, “an exceptional blend of just about everything… doom fans should love the riffs and tone, prog fans should love the insane dynamics, and everyone should love the vocals.” Metal Asylum champions, “a stellar band all around,” while Super Corrupter observes, “The cool thing about AKULA is that this project doesn’t necessarily sound like any of its members’ other bands. Instead, AKULA focuses much more on exploring the same types of ideas as bands like Akron’s Dolly Trauma or the Postman Syndrome. Dolly Trauma was a heavy band that was just as inspired by Tori Amos as Melvins, and AKULA follows suit with emotive, vulnerable vocals that are paired with dramatic, meaty riffs… their heavier riffs are more akin to Isis/Pelican. So – heavy shoe gaze with post-hardcore leanings kind of sums it up…” Adds It Djents, “With some great riffs, thick atmosphere, and a myriad of influences to keep each composition interesting, AKULA are poised to do great things.”
Stream Akula in its entirety at the Hellmistress Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION (or below).
Akula is currently available on CD and limited-edition vinyl in three color variants – 150 baby blue/opaque yellow/white bleed, 175 heavy orange splatter on translucent green, and 175 on translucent blue. For vinyl orders, visit THIS LOCATION. For CD orders go HERE.
AKULA will play a special release show next month with additional live adventures in the plotting stages. Stay alert.
11/23/2018 Aces Of Clubs – Columbus, OH w/ Greyhawk, Cult Of Frost, Matter Of Planets
Jeff Martin is best known for his work in heavy rock unit Lo-Pan, but in the four songs of AKULA‘s self-titled debut, he, Parfenov, Thompson (also now in Lo-Pan), bassist Scott Hyatt, and drummer Ronnie Miller hone an ambience that erases the line between aggressive heavy rock and post-metal, capturing a vast reach on opener “A Pound Of Flesh” and holding it for the duration of the churning and memorable “Force Me Open,” the later crush in “Born Of Fire” and the consuming march that bookends twelve-minute closer “Predators.”
“I was feeling an overabundance of creative energy,” Martin explains. “I had been listening to a lot of heavier psychedelic stuff in the vein of YOB, Neurosis, and even some Mastodon. I knew Chris could do pretty much anything from seeing him play. I contacted him and asked if he would be interested in getting some people together for a purely fun project. He was all for it. I told him what I was thinking in terms of style and he said he actually already had some part ideas he had been messing around with that might be a fit.
“We talked about bass players and drummers and rhythm guitarists and invited some guys to meet up and discuss,” he continues. “And stylistically, everyone seemed to understand what we were looking for: a darker, heavier psychedelic sound with melodic vocals. Longer format and prog shifts seemed like a natural thing for everyone. So we got to work.”
The result of that work is as stylistically ambitious for AKULA as it is engaging for the listener, and the balance they strike belies the notion of Akula being their first full-length. Now aligned with Hellmistress Records for a physical release of the previously digital-only tracks, AKULA begins a larger exploration of sound with that same restlessness. It could take them just about anywhere.