The wide variety of doom has lent itself to become one of the most diverse sounds in all of the metal world second only to maybe black metal in ways of extremities paired with innovation, but that also extends in the other direction in the voraciousness of the sound effortlessly being able to give way to material that’s atmospheric and downright ethereal at times that can only be described as enchanting. That’s a particularly interesting vein of the style that often feels as though not enough bands dare to attempt for whatever reason, but there’s always material to be had should it simply be found. As if they sensed a need to bring more of that glory to light, it’s with their first album in eleven years that Akelei has crafted a beautiful experience that is all but magical in every right.
Eleven years is a hell of a long time to wait for any new music from any band, but it’s when we’re greeted like bands like Akelei who manage to really pour their very soul into their craft with the resulting material all but exceedingly delectable right from the beginning, such a wait feels almost like proper payment in order to experience what’s to be had here. In just three tracks, it’s the very whole of “Een Van Ons” that we get to see Akelei tackle a very relevant theme that we all experience at some point in our lives: connects and the process of their severance. Each song has its own place in the process of grieving as well as being part of the world itself with the ideas of a man being a part of his space in his time, the loss of those close, and then realizing that keeping the memory of them alive then they can still as though they walk with us, and it’s in each chapter of “Een Van Ons” that it has to be said that Akelei executed such a concept beautifully. A mournful but still immensely hopeful approach to doom, this effort swaps heaviness for a gorgeous aura that permeates every facet of the record with the added instruments like violins and a piano across several musicians to make this a deeply layered work that has so much going for it than what might appear on the surface, and it must be said that Akelei brings it all to life beautifully. There isn’t a single minute of this creation that leaves the listener wanting more as the very presence of this album is something that cannot simply be shaken off with everything it offers feeling downright intoxicating in its warmth and supportive in its themes.
Such a work of doom like this doesn’t come around often as it can be very difficult to make a sound that’s so easily taken to extremes like doom, but that doesn’t make it impossible despite the clear challenges with acts like Akelei making it seem as second nature as breathing at certain points. Regardless of how long it must be before we experience another offering from Akelei, it’s the performance of “Een Van Ons” that is more than enough to satisfy us for years to come with it setting the bar for this particular brand of doom quite high.
LISTEN to “Een Van Ons” on Bandcamp here.