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Akron La Signora del Buio album cover
3.33 | 7 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Akron (4:18)
2. Rock'n'follia (3:38)
3. Al confini del mondo (4:10)
4. Atratus Axe (2:19)
5. L'angelo giustiziere (2:49)
6. Preghiera di sasso (5:55)
7. Anthios (2:56)
8. La nave dei pazzi (4:00)
9. La signora del buio (4:46)
10. La notte prima della battaglia (4:09)
11. Anubi (0:50)
12. Afasath (1:28)
13. Elegia (2:29)

Line-up / Musicians

- Enio "Akron" Nicolini / bass, effects, music/lyrics
- Daniel Dixon / bass (2/3/8/10)
- Eugenio Mucci / vocals
- Alice Di Francesantonio / keyboards
- Lea Palmieri / drums
- Gabriele Di Monte/ Hammond L122 (1/4/7/11/12)

Releases information

CD Black Widow Records BWR034 - 1999

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
and to finnforest for the last updates
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Black Widow 2005
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AKRON La Signora del Buio ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AKRON La Signora del Buio reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ozzy_tom
2 stars Akron is a very strange progressive rock project led by bassist Enio "Akron" Nicolini. Normally Enio plays in doom metal outfits "The Black" & "Unreal Terror"(however I've never listened to "The Black" of course. Doom metal is not my cup of music, you know...) and Eugenio Mucci's (vocalist) main interest - according to internet sources - is also metal music (band called "Requiem"). I didn't find any information about the other Akron's musicians but 2 doom metal pals who decide to create progressive rock (and not prog-metal at all!) band is interesting enough to check them out. Especially if they use traditional 70s prog gear like Hammond & church organs. However final product isn't so outstanding as I expected. I can even say that I was a bit disappointed with their debut - "La Signora Del Buio" album. Let's see in more details:

1. "Akron" - first song starts with some sonar-like noises however after several seconds real music kicks in with Hammond organ waves and some murmuring in the background. After this section Eugenio Mucci begin normal singing (in his native Italian language)...but is it really "normal"? Not really... In fact he sings like doom/black metal vocalist who tries very much to sound as symphonic and operatic as it's possible. Unfortunately it seems that he already scraped off his throat because of instant screaming in his previous doom metal band (I suppose so anyway) and he's completely incapable of singing in deep sounding, progressive rock style. But it doesn't change a thing that "Akron" is one of the best songs on the album. Slow and - relatively - up-tempo parts with Hammond runs are floating quite nicely here. Early 70s British prog/psych rock are evident for me here. Track finishes with sonar-like sounds. Full circle.

2. "Rock'n'follia" - this one starts with dramatic screaming and really hideous drumming which sound like wrongly programmed drum machine with constant, monotonous "boom...boom...boom..", bleh... After that Eugenio speaks about something with dramatic voice but mainly we can listen to "eternal" (here read: boring) spacerockish synthesizers landscapes. We can also hear some "angelic", female voices probably created by keyboards.

3. "Ai confini del mondo" - surprisingly this track begin with some electric guitar sounds which are later repeated over and over again in very similar fashion. I suppose Enio Nicolini just plays this part on bass guitar (similar like in debut album of Italian band "Standarte", where bassist also imitates electric guitar). During this composition vocalist constantly recite something in Italian and keyboardist (presumably Fabio Barraco) deliver monotonous synth layers.

4. "Atratus Axe" - along with "Afasath" & "Anthios" this is my favorite moment of the album. Probably because it's instrumental and we don't have to suffer through not-so-good vocal parts. Keyboard player comes back to his Hammond here and drummer (Lea Palmieri?) provide more dynamic rhythm. Along with Moog-sounding synthesizer outbursts these instruments create very good, 70s atmosphere. Splendid staff.

5. "L'angelo giustiziere" - unfortunately another "song" isn't good again. Late 70' Eloy-like synthesizers, melorecitating Mucci and even complete lack of drums. However bass guitar plumping and church organ in the second part of the track are rather good.

6. "Preghiera di sasso" - this song starts with "Come to The Sabbath"-like drum rhythm but soon heavenly (or maybe hellish?) synths join and Mucci scream/talk something with quite awful, doomy voice. And that's it. In the second part Mucci even tries to sing something a little and we can listen to some female, probably computer-programmed voices. In fact almost 6 minutes of sheer boredom.

7. "Anthios" - after 1st minute I though that it will be another Hammond loaded instrumental, however then vocalist joined the party. Anyway his vocal fragment is quite short and not so bad this time, I can even say quite passionate. In general I enjoy this one quite much.

8. "La nave dei pazzi" - composition starts with cosmos-sounding synthesizer, after several moments Mucci begin...talking, again... However after some time drummer joins with good, rock beat and vocalist starts to really sings (in "roaring" style however). In fact song finishes in much better note than I thought it will after boring beginning.

9. "La signora del buio" - titled song is another slow, Gothic inspired composition with Italian melorecitation. But I have to admit that church organ layers along with Mucci's operatic-style screaming in the middle is thrilling and can bring some shivers to your spine... Partly good.

10. "La notte prima della battaglia" - after "Ai confini del mondo" this is another track with electric guitar sounds. Unfortunately just like in "Ai confini..." its performance is extremely basic and include only repeating of the same notes again and again. Mucci is talking and Barraco is playing his "atmospheric" keyboards. Monotonous and boring.

11. "Anubi" - almost 1 minute of soft churchish sounding Hammond organ waves. A bit like "Bridge Passage" from Black Widow's second album.

12. "Afasath" - surely the best piece on "La Signora Del Buio". Dynamic percussion (but too low volume compared to other instruments), violent bass guitar stomping and - the most important - Hammond organ runs. But it's only 1:28 minute long...

13. "Elegia" - album finishes with the most melancholic song. Eugenio Mucci surprisingly sounds very good in this soft ballad. Piano and bells (no drum here) create good atmosphere. Nothing special, but decent relaxing song.

How to summarize such kind of album? For ure it's not for everybody. Very often music seems to be monotonous because of lack of sudden signature changes, catchy, memorable melodies and evident "hooks" (yes, prog-rock also need them. Like all music). Slow tempo of 90% of material also doesn't help to make listener interested. However I can't say that it's total disaster. Surely music is sometimes atmospheric and can bring on some "goose bumps" from time to time. I also think that in general their music is innovative & progressive because I can't think of any other band which sounds similar. I can only compare it to some Gothic horrors soundtracks and - to lesser extent - to Jacula/Antonius Rex dark music. Overall I recommend to start from Akron's second work called "Il Tempio Di Ferro" which is much more interesting, better arranged and with bigger amount of organs. Also songs on second recording are much longer, so they sound as complete prog pieces pieces.

To sum up - 2,5 stars for Akron's debut.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian doom-prog debut

Akron is an Italian symphonic doom-prog band who released two albums on the Black Widow record label. The band is the project of Enio "Akron" Nicolini, who is also the bass player for the famous Italian heavy-doom band The Black. Here Enio was dabbling more in a symphonic vein, and while they are not a Jacula clone, they could be described as a band that would appeal to Jacula/Antonius Rex fans. While Jacula had heavy classical influence, here the basis is heavier, brooding symphonic prog-rock, and if I'm not mistaken I'd say there is just a little bit of a post-punk energy in these participants. The composition is a bit more youthful and carefree here than on the follow-up, sometimes clumsy, na´ve, but always full of integrity. Akron does not "feel" as dark as Jacula/Rex. The themes are certainly dark and doomy, but here they feel more fictional whereas sometimes Jacula/Rex can get uncomfortably authentic for some listeners.

The Akron sound is ominous and ritualistic....the soundtrack to the walk up the path to a dark castle. What makes the Akron sound unique is the lack of guitar and the huge bass presence. While there is a little bit of electric guitar here and there, the lead instrument is Enio's bass, and in some cases dual-bass assaults courtesy of Daniel Dixon. The other lead is the substantial keyboard presence, mostly synthesizers and Hammond, the duties shared by Alice di Francescantonio and Gabriele Di Monte. Doomy and some might say a bit cheesy at times, the synths, Hammond, and even simulated harpsichord weave a magical journey of mood and mystery. It forms a satisfying and sinister cloak of dark rock sound with the lead bass. Atop that we have the forceful and rough vocals of Eugenio Mucci who sometimes sounds like he was out all night drinking and smoking before the session, but he has passion, and is for the most part perfect in this role. Lea Palmieri handles the drums here and shines in the ritual thudding of toms. Slow and oppressive, she plays not unlike Albert Goodman on the first Antonius Rex album, or perhaps like Lori Barbero at half speed. The pieces drift along one to the next like a soundtrack sometimes, like storytelling music. The pace of the music is often slow and deliberate, as is the playing, but I think it would be a mistake to confuse this style for somehow less interesting than fast, complex music.

While the tracks can be quite heavy at times, the foggy keyboards and brooding bass guitars can also be played with a delightful minimalism, a sparseness that allows you to focus on each part and truly enjoy it. I love these moments of space between sounds, which feature vocal parts coming and going. The vocals can also be either quite rough, or gentle and lost sounding, mournful, sad, sometimes delirious. While the ingredients are kept simple and devoid of "flash" playing, what they do with their parts is often just unique and fascinating. There are a couple of instances where the guitar or keys are exploited for odd rhythmic sound as opposed to their traditional use. They almost choke some different sound from them in these moments. Enthusiasm for the material, great timing for effect, and an ability to find cool, dark, lovely sound seem to be strong assets of Akron. The music is dark and passionate, but overall the effect on me is one of peace and melancholy. This is very special music and I've only found a few albums that provide this kind of musical experience.

I'm in very subjective territory with Akron, in contrast to my usual habit of weighing my taste versus objective factors. I love music like this and I'm going to rate it accordingly even though many proggers will not dig this----the same is true for my love for the Jacula sound. So you've had your caveat here, I'm a bit of a fanboy for Italian theatrical doom. These bands are not for everyone and they can be "campy" or pompous to many, but I'm not willing to downplay the rating based on what I believe Transatlantic or Crimson fans would think of my guilty pleasures. This music, which takes me to dark castles and introduces me to the inhabitants is great fun, even if it is a bit cheesy sometimes. Something strange happened as I absorbed the band's two albums. At first I thought the more elaborate second album was the better one, but I've come to the conclusion that the first has more of the personality I enjoy. The sound, the production, the writing, and the playing all would seem to improve on the next album, and yet, this is the one I'm drawn to. Can't explain that except to say I sometimes prefer the searching to the end game. Sometimes youthful indiscretions are more fun that musical advances or maturity. Not always of course, but sometimes.

If you are a fan of this kind of music, be sure to secure a copy of the Akron albums while they are still in print. The booklet is brief and contains only Italian lyrics and credits. The back panel of the booklet contains alternate "cover art" that is pretty cool, with another witchy lady.

A special thanks to Ozzy Tom for bringing this band to the attention of the RPI team.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars AKRON was a project created The Black's bassist Enio Nicolini to satisfy his hunger for a more experimental sound than this presented by his main band,which belonged to the doom side of metal.For this reason he recruited among others Requiem's (another doom metal act) singer Eugenio Mucci.The project was first presented with the track ''Il Mulino delle donne di pietra'' on the Black Widow metal compilation '' ...E tu vivrai nel terrore'' in 1998.The next year AKRON release their debut ''La Signora del Buio" on the same label.

STYLE: Organ-driven Dark Prog with a mysterious atmosphere,theatrical elements and haunting vocals.The organ/synth waves of Enio "Akron" Nicolini and Fabio Barraco seem to come out from a horror movie soundtrack:dark,atmospheric,grandiose with a majestic symphonicism.Bass is very high in the mix to make the atmosphere even more obscure.The slow tempos help in this fact also.Vocals in Italian are half-sung,half-spoken with a dramatic and scary delivery.Not much of complexity in here (actually there is none),but the album ends to be one of the most unique listenings of the last 10 years due to the combination of organ- based music,choir-like vocals and doomy atmospheres.

SOUNDS LIKE/INFLUENCES: The first band that comes to mind is definitely Antonius Rex'es JACULA and their mystic early 70's albums.Elements of GOBLIN,DEVIL DOLL and IL PAESE DEI BALOCCHI are also in the menu.AREKNAMES might be the closest modern reference,but they are much lighter and closer to Classic Prog sounds than AKRON.

PLUS: An ultra-personal sound is the biggest plus of this band.Organ and synths are well played to create some of the darkest soundscapes ever to be heard.Vocals won't be anyone's cup of my tea,but for me they are excellent and match perfectly to the overall sound. Production,while not being great,helps to the whole concept's succesful approach.Nice and dominant bass work by Nicolini.

MINUS: The constantly slow-tempos tend to make the album somewhat monotonous throughout the listening.Some light doses of guitars might have helped.I do not like the sound of the drums,they sound more like war drums than an instrument.

WILL APPEAL TO:..anyone searching for a trully dark listening.Even pure doom metal fans will appreciate this album too,although '' "La Signora del Buio" has nothing to do with the term ''metal''.

CONCLUSION/RATING: "La Signora del Buio" could easily be labeled as a love or hate album.I am 100% sure that many progheads will find this effort too excessive,while others will love it to death.One thing is for sure: AKRON hails as a trully original band,whose album is certainly not for prog initiators...and yes,I found them far superior compared to JACULA...4 stars and strongly recommended for the open-minded.

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