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AKRON

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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AKRON is the name of the musical project of Elio "Akron" Nicolini, bassist for Italian heavy doom band The Black. AKRON produced two albums, "La Signora del Buio" in 1999 and "Il Tempio di Ferro" in 2003, a concept album dealing with the Knights Templar. The albums are heavily based in keyboards, particularly church organ, leading to the sometimes applied label of Cathedral Art Rock. The music is generally slow, deliberate, and always dramatic. The central keyboards are completed by the unique, dramatic operatic vocals of Eugenio Mucci, with the rhythm section of Nicolini and drummer Lea Palmieri. There is no guitar. The reference band that comes immediately to mind when listening to AKRON is JACULA, although AKRON'S music is not as dark. Some have compared the music of AKRON to that of METAMORFOSI, although the similarities are primarily based on the operatic vocals, the predominant organ, and the dramatic style; AKRON'S compositions are not nearly as varied or interesting as those of METAMORFOSI. AKRON produces interesting music, often compelling, and is recommended to those who like dramatic, theatrical or operatic style and are willing to tolerate some artistic indulgence at the expense of complex compositions or instrumental virtuosity.

[Todd]

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AKRON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AKRON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 6 ratings
La Signora del Buio
1999
3.23 | 9 ratings
Il Tempio di Ferro
2003

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AKRON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il Tempio di Ferro by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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Il Tempio di Ferro
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars An Akron's track from ''La Signora Del Buio'' was included in the 2000 Black Widow's compilation '' Children of Black Widow'' and two years later Nicolini gathered his badmates for a second album.Next to him, Fabio Barraco, Insider's singer Eugenio Mucci and Lea Palmieri we find female singer Gabriella Saia and two organ players, Antonio De Angelis and Gabriele Di Monte.''Il tempio di ferro'' was a concept album around the Templar's knights, released by Black Widow in CD and supported by a limited vinyl edition.

Akron's sound hasn't change a bit compared to the previous album and remains a haunting, dark and sinister organ-driven experience of theatrical Progressive Rock.Comparisons with JACULA, DEVIL DOLL and GOBLIN are more than obvious with Akron delivering a very doomy music, filled with Gothic and Opera elements, based on long Hammond organ passages and solos with total absence of guitar leads but a very stable and solid rhythm section.However compared to their debut some of the inspiration seems to have faded, lacking the great measure of the previous compositions, as ''Il tempio di ferro'' contains longer and somewhat overstretched pieces.The overall performance by the band though is still consistent throughout the album with some nice organ themes, symphonic/Classical tendencies and hypnotic piano themes and a singer, who has a melodramatic and mysterious voice.The careful use of synthesizers and the interesting doomy grooves make the album even more atmospheric and Akron managed to produce another work with strong vintage references.

''Il tempio di ferro'' was Akron's last contribution to the Progressive Rock scene and this is another unique experience of dark Progressive Rock with massive keyboard work performed not in a virtuosic but in a very atmospheric way.Although I prefer their debut, this one comes also recommended, especially if you love a dose of sinister mood in your music.

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 La Signora del Buio by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.35 | 6 ratings

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La Signora del Buio
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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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 Il Tempio di Ferro by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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Il Tempio di Ferro
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Darkened RPI is what my ears is being exposed to here. This is indeed doom prog rock. Funeral doom like in places. But there is still no doubt that this is a thoroughbred Rock Progressivo Italiano album.

The vocals is very dark and almost like an opera. Some of the material is delivered like an opera. The melodies is based on keyboards and piano. Hammond organ is also well used here. There is no guitars here though. Fair enough. Both the ambience & the sound is as dark as the devil's paintkit.

The quality is good throughout on an album that truly stands out from the rest of the RPI scene. I am not overly enthusiastic about this album. But I still find it agreeable to my ears and my (whatever left of) my brain. There are some dull theatrical sound effects here which does not please me. But the proper songs are good. Well done to Akron and it is a great pity that this band is no longer among us.

3 stars

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 Il Tempio di Ferro by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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Il Tempio di Ferro
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Superb Italian D&D Doom

One of the branches of the RPI tree would be bands of the Italian "doom" sound, dark prog and variations of dark gothic music. This school, if you like that term, is helped along in Italy by the love and support of Black Widow Records, purveyors of the "dark" music from Genoa. Bands under this moniker would be legends like Jacula, Antonius Rex, along with modern days bands like Areknames. Quite a few other bands have been influenced by and dabbled in dark rock without being fully identified that way. Akron is a project which fully and lovingly embraces the style to great effect and they've delivered a very good 2nd album with "Il Tempio Di Ferro", which thematically deals with the Knights of Templar. Progressor online magazine refers to the band as "Cathedral Symphonic Art-Rock" and does not believe "doom" is a factor here, but to my ears it certainly is. They capture the spirit of Jacula and Antonius Rex without being as dark and disturbing as some people find those groups. They mix elements of these groups with their own accessible and wonderful composition. I was delighted with what I found to be memorable and interesting tracks that stuck with me without having to be overly complex.

The album begins with fantastic church organ in most sinister sounding mode, as if Charles Tiring himself were back from the beyond. Much of it moves at a slow and brooding pace with a deep, ritualistic drumming and heavy bass holding down the low end. There is almost no guitar in the Akron sound palette and it is not missed. I think a big part of what makes this music so unique is the lack of guitars. Modern sounding synths provide a foggy, weighted atmosphere generally described as doomy or a bit spooky. Frankly though I often find some joy and rather uplifting moments coming through even given the overall dark symphonic atmosphere. Vintage organ and piano are used beautifully to give the tracks a somber elegance and somewhat "lost time" feel. The vocals are a combination of male and female teamwork, mostly male, with the female vocals beautifully backing them and providing nice layering. The vocals are very dramatic, perhaps too much so for some, but I don't think so----remember that this music is by its nature bold and dramatic. It is supposed to be larger-than-life storytelling and to some of you this might seem "cheesy." Not to me. The centerpiece track, and perhaps the Akron masterpiece is the amazing "A Gerusalemme." This 10-minute piece features beautiful melodic vocal arrangements and outstanding keyboard parts throughout, then at the end delivers a wonderful solo piano. This album adds more choir vocals and string arrangements to the mix, and in fact improves in sound and production over the debut. Taking another page from the Rex playbook we are even treated to the full sound presentation of a torture session in the castle. In "Le Catene di Chinon" you will listen to the screams of a very unfortunate man as he is presumably being removed from the living world. Last I would say this: if you buy the Akron titles, do give them many plays before making a judgement. Their unusual style and deliberate playing manner do take a little getting used to, but eventually this band gets into your blood.

While the album is a technical improvement over the first, and while the compositions are more ambitious and elegant, for whatever reason I tend to prefer the debut to this one. It's a little rougher around the edges, which I love, but probably most people would say this is the better of the two. Both Akron titles work well as a two part set to give fans of dark symphonic rock one of the finest rides of the 90s/00s. I love them both (caveat, I am an Italian doom fanboy) and recommend them to any Jac/Rex fan. The lyric booklet is quite nice, with pictures of the band members dressed in period chainmail and brandishing their swords. Maybe that's what you could call Akron: Dungeons and Dragons prog. Whatever you want to call this stuff, I like it. I hope the band will reunite one day and give us a third album.

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 La Signora del Buio by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.35 | 6 ratings

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La Signora del Buio
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

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, naÔve, 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.

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 Il Tempio di Ferro by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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Il Tempio di Ferro
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 2nd and - as far as I'm concerned - last album of untypical band Akron, shows signs of quite big improvement compared to their first album "La Signora del Buio"(look to my review of that album to also find out more info about this band). Songs became longer, varied and more melodic. They also seem to really "rock" instead of only create dark, gloomy atmosphere (like in debut), which is a good "innovation". Also vocalist Eugenio Mucci clearly improved his vocal skills and prefers to sing than "recite" in sleepy tone. Addition of two guest Hammond players (Antonio De Angelis & Gabriele Di Monte) and female vocalist (Gabriella Saia who - as I suppose - joined the band after the debut recording 'cos I rather didn't hear her in "La Signora del Buio") is also welcome of course. However I still can't recommend "Il Tempio Di Ferro" as prog masterpiece for casual prog-rock listener. Why? Read my detailed reviews of the songs to find out:

1. "Il giuramento" - album starts with 1 minute intro which include thrilling church organ passage. It sounds really creepy and I'm almost sure that real pipe organ instrument was used for this fragment. One of few moments where Jacula influences are so evident. After this part mid-tempo drum join in and Mucci present as more accessible - compared to previous album - style of singing. Instead of screaming or recitating he really sings and it's big plus. His voice is slightly operatic here and together with floating synthesizers create not so bad song. However 8 minutes is too long for this material and after several minutes starts to drag. It's good that "Il giuramento" finishes with short pipe organ passage just like it began.

2. "A Gerusalemme" - the longest track (almost 10 minutes) starts rather unpromising with simple keyboard plumping, string synthesizer landscape and some bass guitar which try to imitate acoustic guitar notes. Fortunately in 2:30 minute Lea Palmieri starts uptempo drum beat and one of the keyboardist (Antonio De Angelis? Gabriele Di Monte? or maybe Fabio Barraco by himself?) plays very catchy Hammond motif. Dynamic and very 70s sounding part. After that softer part with vocals and first arriving of Gabriella's choirs. Her vocal really adds melodic component to the music. After that quite good organ solo, at first very melancholic and later transforms to more dynamic one. It's followed by another nice-sounding vocal part and another Hammond soloing which suddenly stops to leave place for beautifully haunting acoustic piano passages. In typical prog-rock tradition the longest song is the best one. Opus Magnum of the record.

3. "Il tempio di ferro" - titled song is full of fast analog sounding, fast synthesizer flights, string ensemble backings and angry vocal section. I also enjoy harpsichord-like synthesizer which often takes leads here. Good, Antonius Rex alike composition.

4. "Gadio a te" - this track kicks in with another pipe organ section, however after few seconds Mucci joins with his operatic singing and Barraco move from organ to harpsichord-like keyboard and "choir" synthesizer. Nothing extraordinary but surely good one.

5. "Deus Vult" - rather slow, jazzy sounding Hammond (I'm sure it's a real thing. Such warm sound can be only made by analog gear) and "metronomic" drums. Quite surprising track, a bit like Brian Auger in his softest numbers. Really like.

6. "Verso Notre Dame" - so-so composition with mostly not interesting keyboards parts and some screams of vocalist. Fortunately in the middle Fabio Barraco changes keys for some repetitive, but surely atmospheric piano. Also Mucci start to sing using quite good, very dramatic voice. Passable.

7. "Il giudizio" - I really like this one. Very slow track with mostly "loud whispering" or "crying shout" style vocal and extremely infectious 2-notes piano motif. Very passionate song which always brings goose bumps on my neck. After 3rd minute "Il giudizio" changes mood thanks to more frantic percussion rhythm and synths runs. Near the end we can hear to some recitation which brings memories of their first album. However this fragment is much better thanks to usage of normal style voice. In general very good track.

8. "Le catere di Chinon" - I was almost eager to give 4 stars for this effort...until I remind myself about this horrible, 8+ minutes piece of junk. No drums, only "dark", monotonous synthesizer floating in the air and unbearable screams of vocalist. These awful voices he spit out of himself are truly ridiculous. And this dull ending which sounds like some black mass prayer finished with asthmatic chuffing. Brrr... Skip before you totally lose faith in this band.

9. "Condanna" - after disaster of previous track everything is good. Funeral drum stomping, very Antonius Rex-like synthesizer and "AAAA" choir of cigarettes addict. In the end few seconds of church-like singing and some digital piano. Could be worst I can say so I don't complain.

To summarize "Il tempio di ferro" is surely better than its predecessor. And except "Le catere di Chinon" doesn't have too many stinkers. This time music much more brings resemblances to Jacula and Antonius Rex music however it still keeps its own special favor. Relying on Hammond organ, pipe organ and pianos was surely a good idea. But it doesn't change a thing that it isn't album I can easily recommend. It's still too not very outstanding and some parts drag too much. No doubt that Akron made big step forward with this release and it's a pity that from 7 years they didn't record anything new. I suppose they disbanded and if it's true it's a pity. Their next album could be a real treat I think. In general 3,5 stars is a fair rating for this one.

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 La Signora del Buio by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.35 | 6 ratings

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La Signora del Buio
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Il Tempio di Ferro by AKRON album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.23 | 9 ratings

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Il Tempio di Ferro
Akron Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

3 stars Dramatic RPI in a Jacula vein

AKRON is the name of the musical project of Elio "Akron" Nicolini, bassist for Italian heavy doom band The Black. AKRON produced two albums, "La Signora del Buio" in 1999 and "Il Tempio di Ferro" in 2003, a concept album dealing with the Knights Templar. The albums are heavily based in keyboards, particularly church organ, leading to the sometimes applied label of Cathedral Art Rock. The music is generally slow, deliberate, and always dramatic. The central keyboards are completed by the unique, wonderful operatic vocals of Eugenio Mucci, with the rhythm section of Nicolini and drummer Lea Palmieri. There is no guitar.

Here is the description of the album from the Black Widow site: "The Sound is a really dark doomy progressive with great Hammond Organ and symphonic arrangements, epic-theatrical male and female vocals, deep bass lines and a ritual-hypnotic drumming?a really dramatic opera with an original tragedy's feeling."

The reference band that comes immediately to mind when listening to AKRON is JACULA, although AKRON'S music is not as dark. Some have compared the music of AKRON to that of METAMORFOSI, although the similarities are primarily based on the operatic vocals, the predominant organ, and the dramatic style; AKRON'S compositions are not nearly as varied or interesting as those of METAMORFOSI. AKRON produces interesting music, often compelling, and is recommended to those who like dramatic, theatrical or operatic style and are willing to tolerate some artistic indulgence at the expense of complex compositions or instrumental virtuosity. The album tends to drag a bit toward the end, but there are enough good moments and uniqueness to merit three stars.

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Thanks to Todd for the artist addition.

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