Released: 2014, Self Released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
War and suffering are keen topics of all extreme metal genres. And when putting on a violent themed record, you usually expect it to be lightening fast with screams of pain and bloodcurdling cries. That’s all very well, but not so often you find a group who can deliver such amazing topics and dangerous sounds by taking a slower tempo and using little to no soundbites and references to history. By that I refer to Australian group: AK-11 and their debut album: ONCE UPON A TIME IN EUROPA.
The band are heavily influenced by Siberian history and mythology and the wars that have soaked the barren wasteland with Siberian and Russian blood over the centuries. Vocalist Valak sounds similar to Skeletonwitch with opening track ‘Europa (Krov’)’ and the group start their signature slow barrage of noise similar to Reptilian Death and I Shalt Become. It is a very memorable track which in this case was a good sign of a good album.
‘The Cleansing Stream’ and ‘Sniper Glory’ will make anyone who’s played a WW2 or sniper elite themed video game smile. The songs contain lyrics of glory and the brutality that comes to anyone who has witnessed mass destruction. The hypnotic guitars on ‘Cleansing Stream’ will make you lose yourself in the tranquillity, and any fans of Emperor or Winterfylleth will love the ambient moments on ‘Slava’.
‘Shest’ Shest’ Shest’, I Katyusha’ leads to the end of the album with a traditional black metal structure that sounds akin to Immortal and ‘Europa (A Future)’ will show any aspiring war-themed band how to make warfare black metal without sounding like Marduk or Eastern Front.
I was very impressed by this release and hope to hear more from this band. If you’re into mythology themed metal as well as war, give AK-11 a shot as Siberian mythology is not as represented as most other European spiritualism.
Review by Demitri Levantis