Rating:
7.3
Acyl - Algebra
30 January 2012


01. Ungratefulness
02. Head On Crash
03. Al Kiama Chapter 1: Caldeira
04. Al Kiama Chapter 2: Cirat
05. Barzakh
06. Back To Death
07. Babyl Chapter 1: The False Gods
08. Babyl Chapter 2: Weak And Proud
09. Creation Chapter 1: Demiurge
10. Creation Chapter 2: The Mold
11. Creation Chapter 3: Autonomy
12. Hijrah


Mathematics was never a keen interest of mine. You place anything beyond the most rudimentary of equations in front of me and my eyes glaze over like a gutted fish. This little piece of Algebra has helpfully been calculated for me by the French band Acyl. Interestingly I haven't been reduced to a state of boredom when considering the solution to their algebraic equation.

Cool, calm and collected Acyl plays a convincing progressive folk metal. Oriental progressive folk metal. A definition of sound like that might bring to mind Orphaned Land which one might identify in the sound of this album. The greatest point of contrast is the almost emotionless delivery; completely devoid of theatrics and pomp the album runs its course in a contemplative spiritual detachment. It also sounds very precise and as each second ticks by it is possible to see just how competently calculated this algebraic equation is.

The folk aspect is the very antithesis of gimmick. It is not only structurally relevant but integral and the cornerstone of the album. Everything from the vocals, especially the cleans, to the rhythm section to the guitar work lend themselves to the oriental vibe. Traditional instruments I have never heard of, such as the "karkabou", add spice of authenticity. Located within an intriguingly cold atmospheric shell production values are satisfactory with most instruments being efficiently layered.

There is somewhat lax attention given to pace and the album proceeds at a middling and plodding rate which overstays its welcome by the album's end. Not exactly a problem in itself when considering individual tracks but it does detract from the album's variance overall. The guitars too, while being quite punchy, can sound underdeveloped as they work in a rarely diverse manner to bolster the folk elements. There are however some more subtly catchy bass lines like on "Babyl Chapter 2: Weak And Proud" but it seems that the guitarwork is at its most creative when more closely associated with the fully fledged folk aspects. There are moments which sound rather vanilla in comparison to the rest of the album, thankfully they are only fleeting.

Despite some shortcomings this is certainly one of the most interesting folk albums I've heard from this year. If you'd like a musical taste of the east few have done it better in 2012 than this band from the west.

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 7


Band profile: Acyl
Album: Algebra


 



Written on 18.12.2012 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Dark†SymphonY - 18.12.2012 at 21:46  
A nice review, you definitely found the right problems with this album. I love the oriental sound mixed with metal but yeah, I found the album quite slow and almost boring by the end.
Susan - 19.12.2012 at 01:29  
I appreciate clearly defined positive and negative aspects. It really piqued my interest though! Checking this out soon
Fredd - 19.12.2012 at 12:06  
R'Vannith - 19.12.2012 at 14:25  
Written by Fredd on 19.12.2012 at 12:06




Thanks for recommending this Fredd, you know how to pick em, just when I thought it wasn't all that interesting a year for folk metal.
silenius - 19.12.2012 at 18:45  
Spot on review, liked it alot but it can become a bit boring after a while.
Maxx666 - 26.12.2012 at 21:57  
Algebra... ha ha ha ha

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