I asked Fredrik Norrman when I met him if he liked RED HOUSE PAINTERS. With an astonished look on his face he replied, “Yes.” A few moments later he smiled and repeated, “yes.” Some influences shine through the phrasings and tones that others use. With a time machine, the devil’s influence, and a small budget I could put Mark Kozelek in touch with early KATATONIA and I bet the ending result would resemble AKELEI, a band with light Black Metal influences, a predominate Doom feel, and a knack for layering songs in ways that other artists simply do not.
The copy of “Promo ‘08” that I received contains several skips, but in general the songs have a haunting strain that rivals some of Doom’s gentler giants. The guitars layer extreme chorus with heavy distortion while the drums pummel through punishing dirges to create a fully dismal (but enjoyable) experience. In total, the 40 minute experience seems quite complete and lacks only refined production to become a competitor in the modern market.
I don’t speak the native tongue of the disc, but I sense much solitude and introspection through Misha Nuis' inflections. Clean vocals give the release a warm and human feel to the earthy music, and the purity of the music rings through the substandard recording with a fervor that merits a second (if not third or fourth) listen. The care taken in writing the parts on tracks like “De Zin (Die Ik Verloor)” merits much praise as Doom often falls prey to oversimplification. AKELEI balance the need for repetition and build-up with a focus on the parts rather than the whole, which offers a nice change for listeners craving something new and true.
With proper production this act could soar; however, I would caution the artists to stay true to their roots. The earthy approach here would suffer from over-refinement. The tones and approach are true and need no external influence other than a helping hand behind a professional mixing board.
(Online July 28, 2008)