Album Review: Ethereality by Akord

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Sweet and savory riffs. Unusual but organized rhythmic patterns and hits. Still grooved up. Highly existential, but accessible, lyrical content. Ethereality. Where the hell has this band been all my life? No, wait — where the hell have I been all this band’s life?!

Spurred to investigate by a review of the same incredulity, I was blown away by the overall level of artistic cohesion and production tautness Scottish progressive group, Akord’s fourth — yes, fourth — installment touts. The album is straight up impressive, but it maintains a distinctive mysteriousness and fun to the journey throughout. Song structure varies, but feels obliquely self-referential. The guitar work is salient, but not overbearing, and always serves the riff. While Akord hardly runs dry on novel musical themes, they equally know exactly what to call back, seemingly ultra-aware of what recognizable riffage has had just long enough on the shelf to be recycled. Check out the low-end grooves bookending “Wall” (you’ll know the one I mean) which remind of an almost nu-esque chug melody. Lyrics make me feel like I’m in turns observing a psychonaut’s dialogue with their interior self and their environment personified.

These are all good things, and I’ve apparently been asleep under a rock in a cryo-chamber for the past ten years… If you enjoy the rhythmic drive and instrumentation intricacies of Tool, the alternative, yet classically appreciable vocals of early-mid term Incubus, and are comfortable in the prog rock/metal genre, you should listen to this album immediately.

Intelligent lyrical content that manages to be both progressive and accessible marks the band’s investment in refining each track. Spaced-out vocal layering in “Outlines” reminds a bit of the West Coast prog metal band Corelia (an unbelievably sick, one album flashbang of a prog metal group). No matter how much the each track showcases engaging recording technique and tasteful effecting, Akord ceaselessly considers the listener, creating song and overall album flow that feels both narrative and vignette-like depending on the moment. There’s great variety, with excellent use of open space, a touch of lounge piano, and big voice in “Levity,” ranging to decidedly djent sections in “Aperture”.

In sum, a thorough and weird song writing style that always maintains rock, metal, and pop sensibilities, plus mic-true, but crisp, studio sound, and just-weird-enough lyrical content make Akord’s most recent release an indispensable listen. To the band: thank you. Just thank you. To the reader: get ready to huff a heady hit of Ethereality.

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