Legendary, Demonic & Invincible
Apart from the band name of AK-11, the fact that the band calls themselves “triumphant black war metal” left me almost expecting black/death metal in the veins of bands such as Goatpenis, who pride themselves on war and weapons-themed songs as well. Aside from that, the band also has the album sung in a mixture of Russian and English, and this certainly helps in further stoking my interest in the debut demo, Legendary, Demonic & Invincible.
However, what is present on Legendary, Demonic & Invincible defies what one would almost expect with the “war metal” tag that one usually associates with, and AK-11 instead plays a cold, bleak black metal style more reminiscent to Finnish black metal bands like Satanic Warmaster and Horna, with that somewhat atmospheric element in the music, though AK-11 presents a heavier war theme and a more aggressive edge in the songwriting. Throughout the release, the influence from the aforementioned bands in the songwriting style is evident, such as the melodies that are present and the desolate mood that at times are present. Valak’s vocals further bring out the bleakness of the music, allowing the horrors and destruction of war to overwhelm the listener. The band also includes suitable sound samples towards the end of Slava Rossii, giving an even more creepy feel to the song.
The raw production quality also helps in enhancing the overall mood of the album, giving the guitars a nice fuzzy yet cutting tone, though at times this could come across as ironically overly synthetic, particularly on Vechnyi Ogon’, where the rhythm guitar tone sounded almost like a midi track at the background. The drums, while sounding powerful for the most part, tended to end up sounding rather mechanical, affecting the enjoyment of the album slightly and this comes across more clearly on faster moments (especially the snares) such as on Slava Rossii.
Despite the different perceptions of war metal (that came about for the war themes that the band writes about), AK-11‘s Legendary, Demonic & Invincible is still undoubtedly a nice black metal release, and is sure to please those who prefer the cold and bleak style of black metal.
The band has uploaded this release on their website for free release, and is available at THIS LOCATION.