AKPHAEZYA — Anthology IV : The Tragedy of Nerak

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AKPHAEZYA - Anthology IV : The Tragedy of Nerak cover
4.19 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2012


1. Πρόλογος / Prologos (0:47)

Act I: Spring

2. Scene I : A slow vertigo… (7:48)
3. Scene II : Σωφροσύνη / Sophrosyne (5:00)

Act II: Summer

4. Scene I : Utopia (4:48)
5. Scene II : Υβρις / Húbris (7:52)

6. Transe H.L. 2 (2:48)

Act III: Autumn

7. Scene I : Genesis (5:42)
8. Scene II : Dystopia (3:33)

Act IV: Winter

9. Scene I : Nemesis (3:09)
10. Scene II : …The harsh verdict (8:02)

11. Επιλογος / Epilogos (2:24)

Total Time 51:53


- Stéphane Béguier / Bass
- Loïc Moussaoui / Drums
- Stephan H / Guitars
- Nehl Aëlin / Vocals, Keyboards

About this release

Code666 Records, March 2012

*note: the album is written like a Classic Greek Theater Play.

Thanks to umur for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Tragedy of Nerak resembles what would happen if a symphonic metal band along the lines of Nightwish were locked in a room and had avant-prog and jazz albums from the likes of Henry Cow played at them for a few days straight without sleep. Keyboardist-vocalist Nehl Aëlin mixes up clean vocals with some downright startling growls as the band lurch about in an experimental frenzy. Occasionally, the corset-bound coastline of gothy-symphonic metal can be seen on the horizon, but for the most part this band explores uncharted waters, attempting to apply jazz ideas to symphonic metal in much the same way as Atheist or Cynic did for death metal.
French avant-garde metal act Akphaezya’s Anthology IV (The Tragedy of Nerak) is not, as the name may suggest to the unaware, neither an anthology release nor the band’s fourth album, but actually their second studio album. They started with Anthology II: Links from the Dead Trinity which was released back in 2008, and five parts are planned, intentionally being released out of order. Anthology IV is released in 2012 and is written in the manner of a classic Greek Tragedy. The album features a format of four Acts, each named after the seasons, bookended by a prologue and epilogue track, and an interlude right in the middle of it all.

First off I have to say that the intro track, Πρόλογος / Prologos, is next to useless. It’s just another one of those cliché tracks that doesn’t even last a full minute with little happening to justify its presence in the album. It’s only there really to have something as a lead in to the first proper track but really what is the point, so little happens here that the track may as well not exist. Επίλογος / Epilogo is not any better, although the interlude track, Transe H.L. 2, fits into the album really well. Fortunately the actual songs, starting with Act I: Spring, Scene I : A Slow Vertigo... (which is a much better way to kick off Anthology IV), are most definitely worthy of high praise. Any and all criticism I have for Anthology IV ends here.

Musically what we’ve got here may be considered as much in line with progressive metal than the avant-garde metal this is promoted as, as we only come into full blown avant-garde weirdness with Act II: Summer, Scene I : Utopia, although there’s definitely strong traces of it throughout, it’s only really in your face in this track and again in Act IV: Winter, Scene I : Nemesis later on. There are most certainly lots of different influences from all around the musical spectrum going into Akphaezya’s music though. Just calling it progressive or even avant-garde is generalising to the extreme. If you’re a fan of metal bands that include anything and everything in their sound then Anthology IV is definitely an album worth investigating. I guess the amount of jazz parts is the most notable of Akphaezya’s forays into other styles. They do the jazz stuff really well in my opinion, conjuring up an excellent atmosphere in the process.

A female-fronted act, Nehl Aëlin’s vocals are generally pleasant sounding and at it isn’t hard to imagine her voice working in context with a more simplistic style of music, but she’s also very capable of throwing some quirky tones in there when the music behind her demands it. Less often she also throws some growling into the mix. She’s pretty good at that too. Although I enjoy the music on the album quite a lot, I really have to praise Aëlin’s vocals in their own special mention here, as the amount of tones this girl comes out with give the record a real special feel to it.

With those intro and outro tracks aside, I really enjoyed Anthology IV (The Tragedy of Nerak). The album took me more than a couple of listens to get into, but once I was in the zone the flow of the album quickly became apparent and with every listen given to the album it got better and better to the point that I’ve eventually come to regard it as something really exceptional, whereas my initial reactions were along the ‘good but not great’ lines. It’s a grower for sure, one that I’m not going to hesitate to highly recommend to the more adventurous metalhead, or perhaps even to the adventurous general music fan, since this music goes well beyond just being confined to the metal genre. In any case I think that Anthology IV (The Tragedy of Nerak) is an excellent second release from Akphaezya that represents a clear contended for progressive/avant-garde album of the year.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))

Members reviews

You like diversified Avant-Garde Metal but think that bands such as Ebonylake, Le Grand Guignol or UneXpect are tough to digest? You like epic Symphonic Metal with some experiments but think that bands such as Nightwish, Rhapsody Of Fire or Therion happen to be too overloaded for you? You like experimental Gothic Metal but bands such as Crematory, Moonspell or Orphanage are a little bit too brutal for your taste?

Well, then this record should be your new bible. The French Akphaezya (they could have chosen a catchier band name but it fits) take influences from multiple genres such and mostly Gothic and Symphonic Metal and add some progressive elements to it. One can for example hear jazz piano parts mixed with blackened gothic moments and haunting classic influences in "Scene II : Σωφροσύνη / Sophrosyne" as well as for example circus music and some danceable folklore moments in the vivid and bass orientated album highlight "Scene 1: Utopia". One can hear swing and jazz parts again in the brilliant "Scene II : Υβρις / Húbris" and even colourful samba and tango passages in the overall very heavy neckbreaker "Scene II : ?The Harsh Verdict". A couple of calmer tracks like the piano interlude "Trance H.L. 2" help this record to work better and give some time to digest and get deeper into the concept. The running time of a little bit more than fifty minutes is just perfect. It's not too short like a release coming from Spacemak3r and it's not too long as a release from Opeth might be.

Each song has multiple influences but in comparison to many other so called Avant-Garde bands, Akphaezya don't lose themselves in overlong and endless technical passages that seem only to show how extreme they are. No, the songs on this release don't only fit conceptually together and have a good guiding line. Each single track has its catchy moments and rarely exaggerates on too many changes of style. The musicians in here are in fact truly talented without wanting to show their abilities all the time. The band prefers to focus on the intellectual but never too overwhelming concept of a Classic Greek theater play and on the song writing itself. The smooth flow of this profound album is a clear trademark that makes this young band standout from many others. This release doesn't try too hard to surprise but rather wants to move the listener. A great example is the chilling "Scene II: Dystopia" with beautiful piano and especially violin melodies and sweet acoustic guitar riffs. This track reminds me of a calm Ayreon ballad but I even think this here is better than the great Dutch master of progressive music and you won't read this very often coming from me.

Right now, they are only known to experts of the genre but they really have the potential to make it far and please to any open-minded metal fan. And even beyond this, some bits and pieces could even please to fans of other experimental genres such as Progressive Rock or Free Jazz. Each song grows quickly and makes this record to one of the musical highlights of the year. Don't miss to check this release out. It may sound a little bit unusual at first try but already after a second spin, the catchy tracks will really grow on you. After more than five spins, I'm ready to say Akphaezya are one of the most gifted bands I have ever heard from many points of view. I could not listen to this kind of music all day long but if I do so I really happen to be into this little masterpiece of art. There are not many great bands coming from France but the few ones that I know are more than just great. I highly recommand to check out the releases of this band as well as of The Old Dead Tree if you care for atmospheric, imaginative and progressive metal music. These bands truly are one of a kind.

Ratings only

  • luanpedi
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Bosh66
  • dtguitarfan
  • sauromat
  • 666sharon666

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