Trace Element Rebirth
Released: 2013, Independent Released
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Akarusa Yami are a Nottingham sextet with a good set of achievements behind them, in just two years they've put out an EP and a full length album as well as playing a number of high profile shows and even making an appearance at Bloodstock.
With the band described as an 'Industrial Noise Unit' I was excited and apprehensive; when it comes to metal, the word industrial has an unfortunate habit of alluding towards Godflesh/Ministry-esque brutality but actually delivering a bit of a keyboard and maybe a 'whooshing' sound effect or two now and then. After the first track containing the aforementioned whoosh (a distorted sample that's clipped somewhere along the way in production) and a token hammer-hitting-steel sound effect, I have to report that it's the latter…So, with the word industrial out of the equation, we have a metal band, a bit on the tech side with an interest in vast sweeping tunes that move from textured soundscapes to brutal Meshuggah-like breakdowns. Does it work? Well as you can already see from the rating above, unfortunately no…It doesn't work.
If a band is going to be delivering tech-metal style rhythms at the forefront of its sound they have to be tight. Really really (really) tight. Unfortunately, this isn't something Akarusa Yami do so well. At times, the band seem to be playing so independently of each other and so loose that it sounds like I'm accidentally playing two tracks together at the same time. The quick jagged sections of the tunes feel lagging and clunky and the EP is filled with moments that'll make you think… "they could have done another take for that bit surely".
Despite my industrial disappointments I still have to give credit to the band for trying new sounds, and there genuinely is some interesting experimentation going on here even if it does leave you feeling a little wanting.
There's a feeling of so close but so far for me with these tunes. The interesting soundscapes that build to open track 3 "Heritage - Legacy" are soon overpowered by a bizarre kick drum pattern played out of time, distracting you from what the band is really trying to get you to feel. When things get a little heavier the track does take more solid form and gives you a chance to get into it, with clean vocals giving the the tune some structure. But if I'm being honest, the vocals aren't strong, (though they are twice as loud as anything else for some reason) it takes a lot of work to look past the production choices and even more to look past that kick drum…
Track 4, "'The Sound Of Dying Star" is worth mentioning for its exploration of sound. The instrumentation of the introduction combined with some tasteful samples set the track up very well to be the EP's softer more melodic number. But again, as we move forward through the track it's sparseness starts to expose weaknesses. A limp snare sound, disappointing vocals, disappointing vocal production, and no place to hide for that kick drum soon put a downer on what could have been a really good tune to sit in the middle of this release.
There are still some highlights to be found, the EP has some pretty powerful aggressive vocals, Track 2 "Gottfried Raised My Hand" being a good example and it is nice to hear some of the tracks beefed up with synth-pad sounds underneath. You can picture this band putting on a good show live, and I do admire the independent feel, It should't be forgotten that this is an independent release, with production and mixing handled by the band's guitarist Damian Lee.
So a little rough around the edges should be fine, but when the EPs line up, and the reality of the industry rears its head, there's not a lot of forgiveness for some of these kinds of mistakes.
Overall, its genuinely a shame to give these guys the rating I have, I love to see a band working so hard on their own, trying to make their own sound, doing something a little different and doing it their own way, its genuinely something to admire.
That being said though, there's thousands of other bands working as hard, and at the moment, Trace Element Rebirth isn't up to the challenge.
Review by Jonno Lloyd