Released: 2015, Nordvis Produktion
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
It has been several years since the world has heard from Nechochwen, an Apalači Folk Metal band hailing from America. Due to release their brand new fourth album “Heart of Akamon”, this is another opus set to pay tribute to the Native American Indian culture and history. This eight track album has a total run time just shy of 45 minutes, and takes the listener on a captivating journey back through time, back to an era when one of the original names of the land before the settlers arrived there was Akamon; a name which is immortalised in the title of this album.
The album starts off “The Serpent Tradition” with a lulling acoustic melody that very gradually swells and blossoms into a frantically paced song that amalgamates a host of elements together, from black metal to folk metal, and even some classical guitar features. The coarser sections reminded me somewhat of a rougher version of Kings of Asguard’s song “The Nine Worlds Burn” primarily due to the vocal style and the pace of the song, but also due to the similarities in riffs. One of the highlights of the album for me was the second song which was little more than an interlude. “The Impending Winter” has such a unique and almost discordant feel to it that it immediately grabs the listener’s attention and provides such an interesting countercoup to the rest of the album. The mesmerising reduction of pace in songs like the melancholic “Traversing the Shads of Death” also add a myriad of new facets to the album, ensuring that the listener is kept captivated from beginning to end. Finishing the album off is a very acoustic intro that marks the opening bars of “Kiselamakong” before breaking into a heavily doom driven song with strong Native American influences. All in all an excellent ending to “Heart of Akamon” that brings the listener gently back to the ground after their esoteric journey through the soundscapes woven by Nechochwen.
Overall, this is a unique release that manages to meld several different styles more or less seamlessly together. The production is a bit on the fuzzy side, although this does partly lend the album a more organic feel. There are so many different elements strewn together on this album, and whilst this does lend a rich tapestry of textures to the music, some of them don’t entirely fit, and thereby clash slightly. However, these are thankfully few and far between. There is something very unbridled and free about this album that more than makes up for any minor technical faults, and this helps make Nechochwen a strong contender for my “Best of 2015” list. Check them out!
Review by Erika Kuenstler