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Released: 2015, High Roller Records
Interesting band we’ve got here, Aktor being the joint brainchild of American Professor Black (drummer in the godly Pharaoh, and member of several other bands) and Finnish Jussi Lehtisalo, a man who seems to be in just about every possible band around (seriously, check out his “Active Bands” on the Metal Archives, it’s ridiculous). Anyway, suffice it to say that there is some serious talent involved with this project.
The album’s trippy & nightmarish cover art sends up signals that could fit the band anywhere from NWOBHM to doom metal, and really, that’s kinda where the music ends up. PARANOIA definitely resides more towards the hard rock end of the spectrum rather than heavy metal, but the riffs, keyboards washes, and stomping rhythms make the music more than heavy enough. As well, the production is very clean, with distinct separation between the instruments, with Black’s equally clean vocals pushed to the fore. In fact, Black’s vocals are a perfect fit to the music; he comes off, true to his nickname, as a mad professor lecturing his flock over top of a dreamy, sinister soundtrack. And that’s truly what Lehtisalo provides with this slightly proggy, doomy, riffs. It’s a mixture that’s somewhat difficult to describe, but picture a doomier, Blue Oyster Cult headspace and you’d be getting close. The music was quite off-putting on first listen, but the more I listened to it, the more I understood it and began to enjoy it. I guess it’s all about getting past your initial preconceptions.
NWOBHM or ‘70s rock fans should definitely make a point to hear Aktor’s music. You can hear its roots and influences, but to these ears the band has pieced it all together in a way that stands out distinctly original and their own. Underground cool.
1. Devil and Doctor
2. Gone Again
3. Stop Fooling Around
4. Too Young to Die
5. Six Silver Suns
6. I Was the Son of God
7. Something Nasty
8. Where is Home
9. Never-ending No
10. The Mover
Professor Black: Vocals
Jussi Lehtisalo: Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Tomi Leppanen: Drums
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