Review: “All That I Am, Laid Out in Front of Me” by Akimbria

When it comes to making a statement as a new band and getting people to really pay attention to your offering, nothing quite says “We’re HERE!” like a guest appearance from a titan of a genre that you’re creating in. Some might call it cheating or underhand because you haven’t got there on your own, but the truth is that you’ve put your money where your mouth is and taken a gamble. If the rest of your material is just as good as that one cut, graced by that special guest then you’re onto a winner; but if you don’t manage to capture the same magic or the track itself is less of your own style and more about the guest, then at least you have the memories. For UK Deathcore Titans Vexed, it worked and they put their boot print on the Metal Map thanks to a guest appearance from one of their heroes in Thy Art Is Murder frontman on “Dominate” that eventually led to their debut album “Culling Culture” appearing via Napalm Records… so could it work for Pittsburgh Deathcore trio Akimbria? Joey Phillips (Guitar, Vocals), Jaden Barley (Bass) and Owen Clark (Lead Guitar) reached out and managed to persuade Ben Duerr, vocalist of Deathcore titans of the moment Shadow of Intent to lend this throat for their debut EP and that in itself speaks volumes of their ambition. It’s one thing being a fan and going to show but its another being bold enough to reach out to a hero and say “Hey Dude; we’re a small band starting out and would love it if you could help us out…“; and then you have the whole getting picked thing because lets face it, some of those heroes are seriously in demand, so the track that you send them really has to get their attention…

But before all that comes the title track of the EP in opening up the floor for “All That I Am, Laid Out in Front of Me“, a cut that we’re going to compare to a soft centred chocolate. The Deathcore surround is tight and aggressive as you could want with some “Follow The Leader” era KoRn esque lead parts that linger in the air to great effect; a punchy second verse with breakdown riffs and scolding vocals is very much mission accomplished in terms of stylings… then mid track suddenly we have soaring clean vocals and blistering solo accompanied by some blast beats and another KoRn esq lead part as it breaks out into a huge breakdown section. Totally unexpected but it’s like you’ve bitten into a liquid centre of salted caramel when you expected it to be solid. It works incredibly well although you know that purists out there are going to try and crucify Akimbria for it. Then we have the cut of the moment, “I Wept” with Ben Duerr of Shadow Of Intent which straight up bludgeons for the opening salvos before once again bringing in those stunning cleans and frankly if you’ve got the ability to produce confident and powerful clean vocals then why not use them? It works for Phil Bozeman in Whitechapel just as well as it works here but the clincher is there is another voice here, a shriller one of pure evil in the background that pops out of the mix where it was laying in wait before the skull crushing finale that shatters tectonic plates in its sheer brutality. When we interviewed An Unction in Braille they declared themselves Melodic Deathcore and it has to be said that this fits that genre tag, as punchy as Deathcore but with the influence of Melodic Death Metal and even Black Metal in the influence to create a swirling plague baring wind of of madness. “Ignorance of the Masses” actually sees both ends of those extremes in a single burnt offering, a stunning climbing solo, a coffin weighed down buy an abundance of blast beats and some achingly beautiful synths to close it and lock in those caustic uncleans. Phillips vocal range is nothing short of incredible and this is a far more mature offering as a debut than anyone could expect going into it. You really do need this because it dares to be different and we salute Akimbria for that because they made it work, despite all the odds  [8/10]

Track listing

  1. All That I Am, Laid Out in Front of Me
  2. I Wept (ft. Ben Duerr of Shadow Of Intent)
  3. Ignorance of the Masses

All That I Am, Laid Out in Front of Me” by Akimbria is out now

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