Akin – The Way Things End

Akin is a band that has been around for over a decade, so it comes as something of a surprise that I have not heard anything from this talented ensemble before. Now only recently scoring a deal with ProgRock records, this French cello rock group will finally be reaching a much greater audience than the one they had before. This is the second full length record that the band has come out with, and the first thing they have churned out in a few years, but if ‘The Way Things End’ is any indicator of the band’s future, they likely have much greater things in the future for them than in their past. Akin is a band that manages to fuse the sound of the cello into the rock/metal formula, and unlike some that attempt this, they execute it brilliantly. However, despite an incredibly promising sound to them, Akin is bogged down by a few less successful aspects to their sound that potentially get in the way of an otherwise excellent musical experience.

Despite being labelled as a prog rock band (and rightfully so), much of Akin’s music narrows down to fairly concise songwriting structures. It is in fact largely in the way these songs are presented that gives the band their progressive edge. Although Akin’s songwriting aims to be highly melodic, there are dense layers of crunchy guitar riffs and lush string arrangements that add so much to the sound. Although the core songwriting may not tend to be so challenging, the wealth of little details that Akin leaves in the performance and mix is worth returning back to many times, as ‘The Way Things End’ is certainly not a record that is so easily digested in a couple of listens.

When it comes to the actual songwriting itself however, things are a little more hit-and-miss. While on such pieces as ‘The 92nd Flight’, Akin manages to build up their instrumental sound with mastery, but they get lost on fairly lackluster melodies, with particular regards to the vocal lines. Although Adeline Gurtner is evidently a strong vocalist, her performance here does seem to distract more from the excellent instrumentation moreso than compliments it. Her voice is best compared to that of Anneke van Giersbergen (ironically one of my favourite female singers) and has a sweet tone to it, but too often, Gurtner’s vocal lines seem to meander over the complex music, instead of becoming part of it, so to speak. It is no discredit to Gurtner’s abilities as a singer necessarily, but unless ‘The Way Things End’ could have had better vocal melodies, it would have been preferable to leave the record as an instrumental venture, and focused more on the excellent musical arrangements.

The production here is somewhat uninspired. Although the instruments are all more or less clear in the speakers, it feels like a very bare-bones effort. Luckily for Akin however, their abilities as instrumentalists are excellent, and in a much more distinctive way than the typical prog metal standard of shredding and speed. ‘The Way Things End’ feels incredibly promising in some respects, and something of a let-down in others. All the same, Akin will undoubtedly be a band to look out for in the coming years should they decide to release more material, even if it is something of a mixed bag.


01. The 92nd Flight
02. Cassandra
03. Unhearted
04. When
05. Miracles
06. Burning Skies
07. Enter Spaceman
08. No Second Ride
09. Before the Storm
10. Resilence
11. Falling Deeper
12. Miller’s End
13. Coma
14. No Betrayal
15. A Better End


* Luc Babut – bass
* Matthieu Baker – guitars, backing vocals
* Philippe Chauvre – flute
* Julien Chometton – rhythm guitar
* Romain Fayet – drums
* Adeline Gurtner –  lead vocals
* Pierre Lucas – keyboards

The string quartet performing on this album (from the CNSMD de Lyon) are:

Elsa CLAVERIA and Rachel GIVELET – Violin
Samuel HENGEBAERT – Viola
Florian NAUCHE – Cello

Additionnal musicians :

Guillaume PROST – Darbuka on « The 92nd flight »
Elodie POIRIER – Dilruba on « Miller’s end », additional cello on « Miller’s end », « The 92nd flight », « Unhearted », « Before the storm » and « Coma »
Sylvain GERARD – Darbuka and djembe on « Unhearted », daf on « Miracles » and tablas on « Miller’s end »



You must be logged in to post a comment Login

%d bloggers like this: