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.