AKITSA – DEVENIR LE DIABLE LP (Hospital Productions)

Always a safe bet to deliver quality output from a truly dissident, misanthropic and uncompromising perspective, Akitsa has been to the forefront of Québécois Black Metal resistance for a quarter of a century now, not once disappointing in all that time. On exceptional seventh full-length, ‘Devenir le diable’, the inimitable Outre-Tombe has composed another superb offering of belligerence that faithfully ploughs its own furrow rather than following any trends.

Instantly recognisable as Akitsa, and again a subtle deviation from what preceded it, the latest LP relies heavily on atmosphere and Outre-Tombe is a master of conjuring it. Sometimes the feeling is depressingly sombre (‘Lames de l’enfer’), sometimes more upbeat and defiant despite the heavy subject matter (the ensuing ‘Mon esprit s’efface’), always majestic and filled with immeasurable emotion; stirring and rousing the senses.

Stripped back and primitively minimalistic, the music on this album pours forth from the heart and soul. One can feel the passion and rage of a tormented spirit seeping through, amplified by the clever repetition that renders each outburst so powerful, poignant and unforgettable. These songs stay with you and what more should we demand from music in this wretched day and age? An age of existential embarrassment where too many apologise and bend the knee, but where Akitsa moves purposefully against the grain, naturally in the uncensored and uninhibited direction its creator chooses.

Musically, Akitsa has always put its own twist on BM. Not progressive or experimental (how can it be when it has always been this way with this entity?) or avant-whatever, more innovative and intuitive, somehow existing independently or paradoxically to any rules, scene, style or expectations. Regressive, peculiar, parallel, ‘Devenir le diable’ is a wonderful demonstration of how Black Metal on the frontline is all about spirit, ideology and integrity first and foremost.

At its finest, Black Metal is a state of mind moreso than a particular sound or set of sounds. Even though it doesn’t follow the established formula of conventional or stereotypical Black Metal, Akitsa remains more Black Metal than most.

Evilometer: 666/666