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Akasha’s Sonic Destruction Forever “Enthroned in Catacombs”

akasha

If you identified as a goth kid at any time in the 1999 to 2009 timespan, chances are you have witnessed the magic of R&B legend Aaliyah bringing the role of Queen Akasha to life in Queen of the Damned. Whether the film has a permanent spot in your VHS collection, or you just caught a glimpse of the metal-and-jewel-clad icon on a poster while smoking in your friend’s basement, the allure of fanged royalty is hard to forget, yet even harder to capture in a bottle. Miraculously, one-man artist Leech of California’s Akasha has managed to conjure the queen through an unlikely medium: extreme metal. While other bands have operated under the same name, the ruthlessness of its USBM guise succeeds at personifying the hypnotic gore of vampiric spirits.

Starting just last year, Leech has quickly made a mark with three releases already under his belt. Akasha’s premiere EP Consuming the Soul features six offerings that swiftly capture the listener under the darkness of night, sucking the soul until bodies fall to the floor with a quiet crunch. Tracks like “Fuck the Sun” consider the grave possibilities of combustion while its grainy and gritty tone keeps up a surprising degree of fun. Like a drunken midnight jaunt through a graveyard, Consuming the Soul presents unrelenting speed upkept by the fear of what may be creeping up from behind or lurking around the corner. Vibrations of Blood and Hate — Akasha’s follow-up split with Appalachian black metal practitioners Unrest — provides a similar approach, but with even more chaotic riffage, as if all that twisting around tombs has given way to dizziness. Keeping up an element of playfulness, Leech even offers a cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” fit for welcoming newcomers to the gates of hell.

Wasting no time, Akasha is back with first-ever full-length Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity. This release welcomes production quality that has been turned up a notch, which even extends to the cleaner (but equally as sinister) album aesthetic. While many bands undergo a smoothing-out process as they grow, Akasha’s shift is noteworthy in that it seems to serve a purpose in-step with the album’s themes. Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity expresses the essence of the Queen of the Lifeless Few, who walks in a similar stride to Queen Akasha. Leech explains that his aim was to “capture the spirit…of the feminine archetype through a personal interpretation of these Divine Feminine characteristics — and a very wrathful one at that.” It is this dark beauty that masks an unwavering vengeful backbone.

In a genre where text is too often lost, enjoy a rare treat: a lyric video for “Enthroned in Catacombs,” which will be featured on Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity.

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Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity releases March 15 via Grey Matter.

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