Review: Akasha – Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity (Grey Matter Productions, Mar 15)

If you’re not careful, the sheer intensity of the infernal heat that radiates from Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity will scorch you. Even ‘radiates’ seems like too neutral of a word for the menacing presence this album possesses; singing flames and gouging claws are born with a fury from the relentless, thrashing, sooty blasts, waves of scathing sound snaking from the chaos in a manner much too confrontational to be described by such passive diction. The hellish dimensions created in each song are inexplicably crafted by only one musician, the sole member of Akasha known only as Leech, who is somehow able to propel the music forth with the strength expected of an entire ensemble. The production style isn’t entirely crystal-clear, but lets each and every element cut through, giving the crunching guitars the overwhelming power they need on barn-burners like “Vibratory Waves Collapsed” yet allowing the tightly controlled rhythm section to shine on “Psychic Fog, Draconian Paroxysm.” While firmly rooted in its black metal sensibilities, Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity dips its talons into a range of other styles to fuel its aggression, embarking on full-throttle punk gallops at times and venturing into nightmarish death breakdowns on tracks like “Enthroned in Catacombs.” If you think this one can’t live up its cover, think again.

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