Nechochwen – Heart of Akamon

Alas, after many, many years... They have returned. I had a dream - a dream where I was able to effortlessly roam the internet in search of greater music. I came across three trials. The first was finding a way to acquire good music. I tried Pandora, Last.fm, and Myspace genres (I was young and inexperienced). These provided no real solutions. I began to starve and was growing weary. I began to hallucinate and listen to radio hits on SiriusXM's metal station. In my desperation, I somehow came across music blogs. Dozens of blogs providing new music sources from all over the world. Now I had the sources but how to best use them? The second trial came and it was fucking easy. Google is king. Google Reader was the shit. Google Reader gave me all I needed. EZ GG. Third trial was searching through dozens and dozens of blogs for good shit. I'm tired of this long intro so eventually I found Nechochwen. This is right around the time they released Azimuths to the OtherworldIt was so good. I was hooked. However, my parents' computer at the time crashed and I lost a lot of music including that one. Back then I don't think they had a Bandcamp page or a website. They were just recently added to Metalarchives so as far as I was concerned, I had to move on. But now we're here, we're queer, get used to it.

  

Before writing this review, I was prepared to argue that this album has the potential to be as successful and influential as Panopticon's Kentucky. However, it seems another blog beat me to it so I won't reiterate. I will note that Aaron Lunn of Panopticon helped with the logo and hand-drawn turtle effigy. They also thank Hammerheart Brewing where Aaron Lunn works (and where many of my former brewery coworkers visit). What Heart of Akamon does is fantastiche. Combining black metal with beautiful acoustic passages and Native American instruments (lalawas, native american flute, and floor tom), they create a rich folk atmosphere that rivals the well-established European black/folk scene. The entire album is centered on the struggle of Native Americans as they faced the Europeans. As a Minnesotan, I'm especially aware of the struggles they faced as we are surrounded by the tragedies the colonists committed (largest mass hanging in the U.S. in Mankato, MN - 38 Santee men) so this hits home. Everything is well executed through the album (poor choice of words?) and is incredibly heartfelt. The sound is wonderfully balanced and there is such a delicious crunch to every note. The vocals are so so so so good. The clean passages soar to great heights and the screams are harsh enough to demand your attention. I really struggle to find anything wrong with this album. You'd have to adamantly not be a fan of something they do in order to not appreciate the attention to detail. While the topic is very serious, it still has a strong nature/primal feel to it and makes me want to go hiking and do drugs. Become a medicine man. Get scars. Create a creepy mud hut in the middle of the forest for some weird horror movie tales. Get M. Night Shymalamalamadingdong on board for another movie. Cease movie entirely. Go back to 9-5. Repeat next week when I play the album again. Maybe avoid M. Night Shlamabamalabamadingalinger. My only complaint is not having the lyrics on their Bandcamp page. I want to read the entire story. DO IT.

 

I hope that this causes a new trend among American black metal/folk lovers. Don't fucking pull off that European folk. Let the Europeans do it. We have our own sound here and it is even more interesting and varied than the stuff Europe has been sending over seas for the past however many years.

 

Nechochwen Official Facebook

Written by Cole Olson

Nechochwen: Heart of Akamon
Bindrune Recordings, Nordvis Produktion
4.8 / 5