Lost Forest EP
Haunting sounds from Denmark
It's still early days for Danish four piece Akoma - who are vocalist Tanya Bell, axeman Morten Harboe, bass player Daniel Nielsen and drummer Peter Buur. That being said, there's certainly more than a few sparks on Lost Forest (the band's second independent EP release) to perk the interest of those that enjoy the female fronted symphonic metal genre.
Musically, Akoma could be easily compared to a literal barrage of other female fronted progressive acts, though personally I think they sound very much like a European version of longstanding Adelaide metal outfit Chalice - which is certainly not such a bad thing.
All three tracks on the EP are fairly similar in terms of their musical scope and style but each is individual in its own right. The opener Lost Forest drifts along at a steady pace, before swinging into a reasonably heavy (by symphonic prog standards) mid section full of rumbling drums, haunting vocal lines and enchanting keys. The catchy Running Away follows up in a similar vein, though comes of with a slightly different sound - its shimmering guitars and dirge like vocals cleverly tying in to create some great harmonies that would instantly render the track likeable to a more mainstream audience. The final track, Forgotten Hero however, is where things are really at as far as I'm concerned. It's driving guitar riffs, stunning vocal hooks and floating keys make this track easily stand out amongst the others on the album.
While taking the above into account, it could still be said that Akoma has a little bit of work to do in terms of really keying into that 'something' that sets them apart from all the other female fronted prog symphony bands out there. The band is certainly on track with Forgotten Hero, but whether or not this is enough to really push them into the limelight remains to be seen. Certainly as mentioned above, it is still very early on in the piece for Akoma - the sound and style they adhere to on their first album may indeed have all the ingredients needed to set them up as a new contender in the European metal scene - only time will tell.
At the crux of it, Lost Forest is an enjoyable release that is worth a listen if you need a breather from listening to other more mainstream acts such as Lacuna Coil or Within Temptation. It's certainly not something that will float every metal head's boat, though the driving guitars may be surprisingly likeable to those that wouldn't normally appreciate this genre.