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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

AKLO

Unnamable

Review by Gary Hill

The second release by Eric Sandberg under the name AKLO, this one continues the creepy musical themes based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft that were begun on Beyond Madness. I’d have to say that I like this one better than its predecessor. It’s a shame that I didn’t get it in time to work it into the book. As with the original disc, I’m not sure it fits into the category of progressive rock, but the argument could be made – so here it is. Once again there is no booklet, so the CD itself is the graphic. You can get this one at AKLO’s site, or just get more information there.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Dee Translation
Atmospheric, but actually rather pretty, sounds serve as the backdrop while odd scratching type sounds create a sense of fear. This grows only a bit in terms of the music but odd scream like sounds and more monstrous versions of the scratching rise up to intensify this. It drops after a time to just waves of sound over which the processed “screams” are laid. Then swirling textures emerge in the mix until the “scratches,” feeling a bit like dog growls return. A spoken voice is heard in the mix here, but not really discernable.
Antarctica
The sounds of frozen winds begin this. Then keys hint at creepy textures in the way of quick bursts of odd sounds. This starts to build up by focusing more on those lines of sound. This doesn’t grow quickly or drastically. Instead it intensifies in its essence of cold terror.
Asenath
More tentative musical tones over weird sounds like all sorts of odd creatures begin this. With the pretty keys that make this up it is the most “musical” piece thus far. A mysterious, exotic line of melody emerges over the top of this after a time. Eventually these more musical elements give way to something that is more sound effects driven, but only after a very melancholy and beautiful section takes it for a time. More music returns later, but eventually gives way to the sounds of wind. Still, melody comes back in at the latter part of the track to finally reclaim it. This is one of the strongest pieces on show here.
Eryx
Weird tones rise and begin to coalesce around each other. Then a fast paced, but quite understated, odd rhythmic texture joins the piece. This is oddly pretty while still maintaining a sense of the strange. Weird science fiction like noises make up a lot of this in an echoey sort of montage. A whirring, humming sort of sound takes it later. Then more swirling lines of this type sound enter.
The Tomb
Atmospheric tones and weird pounding eventually are replaced by something that feels almost like an odd voice. Then more atmospheric textures rise up to carry the piece forward.
Yith
This one is another healthy dosage of atmospheric strangeness with lots of weird noises. Unfortunately, by this point it’s starting to all feel a bit too similar.
Alhazred’s Hymn
While this one starts with more creepy textural sounds like we’ve been getting so far, it manages to gain more oomph as it carries forward. So, at least in terms of volume, this one is a change of pace. This also manages to get a lot creepier in many ways than some of the stuff that’s come before without resorting to a ton (there are still some) strange noises. I’d have to say that this is one of the most effective on the disc.
Captain Marsh
Keys create short little curves of sound that make the backdrop for this. They almost sound like weird voices. Then at points there are hints of a real melody line emerging. More and more pieces of melody emerge amongst the weird sounds. This is actually one of the strongest cuts on the disc and has more of an individual identity. Later something that feels a lot like tribal chanting and wailing emerges.
Shadows of Time
More odd musical elements come in to create an echoey sound pattern. This has a chiming gong sort of texture through much of the track. It turns more dramatic in a creeped out way later.
Eulogy For Humanity
Pounding and weird sound effects with some hints of real music serve to create the basis for this odd track.
 
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