On their December release, Melinoë is frankly a frightening piece of art that is reflected by both the cover and the sudden jumps through everlasting flames. The water rises higher as the sun sets but on the introductory track, “Somniloquy” is frantic and quickly makes a nest in the more treacherous resources of the mind.
Similar to driving through a snowstorm at full speed, Akhlys is dangerous and almost impossible to gauge where they will be striking from. The elements of vocals that are more wails from the shadows than any sort of growling become engrossed between the strings and percussion. More time seems to be spent in the driving brute force than any within the atmospheric building on “Somniloquy.”
It’s only until “Succubare” do the whirlwinds of cascading rooms and doors begin to close on the listener as the razors on wire shrill and slides up the spine. The harsh cold that was once present is now replaced by immense and unforgiving darkness that resembles cave walls on a winter night. The blackened figures dance on the walls but are close to the Innervisions of the cracked feeble mind where the whispers are heard like chambers from a gun.
Still shocking which follows a similar vein throughout Melinoë, only can Akhlys be such a passionate creature of both utter horror and manipulative monstrosity. The long-drawn bows of the following track “Ephialtes” act to peel back the skin and framework and rely on a pure technicality to survive. The playstyle here while rushed and forceful, can be admired for the way that Akhlys is able to conquer through sound.
Never faltering or turning an eye backward, the break downs toward the five-minute mark of “Ephialtes” is exactly placed to conjure some sense of doubt from the listener. As Akhlys carves harder into the ears, the clean delivery is nearly entirely foreign to the audience. Most of the five tracks are split into evenly cut corners of the slugfest and the earthly builds.
Combining both ingredients makes for one of the strongest black metal records of 2020 based on emotion alone. The level of skill is able to back a foundation, but Melinoë succeeds off its ferocity and unmatched character in the ring.