Review: “The Gods Have Spoken” by Akilla

A long gestating project, Cambridge Melodic Death quartet Akilla have been a growing concern since 2017 with just a couple of singles in that time to show for their endeavours. At least part of the reason for that has been a struggle to maintain a consistent line up with vocalist and guitarist Ross Wilson the only original member. Now refreshed and rejuvenated with a wealth of live shows under their collective belts, the band are ready to release their debut album “The Gods Have Spoken” with Elimination guitarist David Hill and Atorc bassist Kathryn Hailes joining Wilson and drummer Ginger Taylor to complete the line up. Written, recorded and mixed by the band themselves with the exception of drums and mastering which were handled by Jack Helliwell at DC Studios, the eight track affair has had a pair of singles from it out for three years…

They say that good things come to those who wait and when “Winds Of Winter” commences any thought that the album might feel dated is cast aside almost immediately. A timeless blend of Scandinavian influences has served as an Oak cask and put simply Akilla have matured like a Malt Whiskey with Wilson’s harsh vocals contrasted perfectly by the bands signature Melodic Death Metal sound. Delicate and intricate leads add a touch of class to the sombre and sobering atmosphere while fleeting ethereal moments give a depth, texture and power to the piece, something echoed in “Serpent and the Son“. Feeding on those melancholic natured influences of Dark Tranquillity and to a lesser extent Insominium  this cut increases the intensity with a delicate synth layer floating in the ether of the bands sound that paints everything a shade darker. Moving and powerful there is still time for odd Thrash infused moment, the final twenty five seconds offering a burst of Exodus style that elevates everything to a new realm of existence while proving there could be more to the band than meets the eye. Stepping up the tempo of the damned, “Queen Of Heaven” continues to inject energy with momentary flirtations with Thrashier moments before returning to the bands core sound, a face melting extended solo in the later part of this an absolutely stunning piece of musicianship. That steady build from a solid start ensures that the album grows on you the more you listen with “Song Of The Seafarers” finding the band reaching critical mass at just the right moment. Another Melodic Death Metal classic soaked in history and heritage finds Wilson sounding like a Viking Warrior as he barks the lyrics with a blood curdling aplomb. A false ending for a vibrant piece of melody is a nice touch, cleansing the palate and freeing the mind before the final thunderous verse.

A cinematic introduction raises the hairs on the back of the neck at the beginning of “Blood And Bone“, the darker tone leading to dirge laden riffage as the vocals take hold. The melancholic overtones are entrancing, capturing the weight of the lyrics perfectly as Wilson draws out some notes with his vocals. He may not demonstrate much range here but he makes up for that with persistence and power, the anvil heavy tones unmistakable, gripping the throat like a bear strangler and not letting go. “Cosmica” is the first of the two singles that were released by the band three years ago and while you might think it might sound out of place in these surroundings, its thunderous power and is as majestic in this context as it was when it then. The whammy bar drop solo is immense as the band dial in a little Groove Metal flair before the brutal final chorus that makes it a real tour de force of what Akilla are about. It might sound like a cliché but Wilson sounds like a wrathful God on “The Gods Have Spoken“, his harsh tones floating over the rich melodies as it plays out. A couple of “Burn My Eyes” era Machine Head style riffs add something a little different to break up the sounds of approaching immolation, as does a tasteful tribal drum pattern, the band ensuring that the album doesn’t become monolithic while keeping a nice flow. Forty seven seconds longer than the single version, “Echo” is the epic grand finale that the stature of the album calls for. A delicate introduction piece cleanses the palate before the sumptuous lead guitars take hold, the vocal layering well constructed to bolster the sound. Leads and even a piano part are inventive and well thought out additions as the savage beast is soothed… for now [7.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Winds Of Winter
2. Serpent and the Son
3. Queen Of Heaven
4. Song Of The Seafarers
5. Blood And Bone
6. Cosmica
7. The Gods Have Spoken
8. Echo

The Gods Have Spoken” by Akilla is out 2nd June 2023 with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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