March 2, 2014

Immortal Bird - Akrasia

Written by Justin C.

Artwork by Kikyz1313

I faced a challenge when writing about Immortal Bird: My esteemed colleague, Andy Osborn, said the songs on their EP Akrasia reminded him of "a death metal Ludicra." That's high praise in his book and mine, and it's also one of the most succinct ways of describing Akrasia. But just in case you weren't convinced to check it out after seeing it on both Andy's year-end list as well as mine, I'll throw some more words at you to try to sway you.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Rae Amitay has shown her drum prowess in lots of bands--including Woods of Ypres, Thrawsunblat, and Mares of Thrace--but she also provides the vocals for Immortal Bird. They're a vicious rasp, and one might be forgiven for thinking the lyrics "I'll chew on glass / I can't swallow my pride" from "Ashen Scabland" might be literal, not figurative. There are a lot of choice sensory moments in the lyrics, too, including a nest that "reeks of disease / soaked with mites and fleas" and the observation that it's "hard not to scream / when steel wool is your blindfold." “Akrasia” means acting against one’s better judgment, and lines like “I’ll be your great regret / the one that makes you pray for death” brings the point home. My own regret is that I didn’t get this review done before Valentine’s Day, because this EP is clearly for lovers.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The guitar and bass--by Evan Berry and John Picillo, respectively--do more than just keep up with Amitay’s vocals. There's a great variety of riffs here, from the swarm of angry insects on "Spitting Teeth" to the pairing of black metal dissonance and Pantera-esque grooves in "The Pseudoscientist." There are even moments of respite, like when the guitar switches to quiet, muted arpeggios in "Ashen Scabland" while Amitay asks, "Where do you think you'll go when you die?" Well, maybe "respite" isn't the right word...

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

None of the tracks are particularly long, and there's only four of them, but Akrasia has a full-album feel. The fact that they can pull elements of death and black metal together and juggle them while still maintaining a clear band identity makes me hope for a full-length, and soon.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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