French occult/psychedelic rock and metal outfit Akasava came to be in July 2014. The four-piece had worked tirelessly in the months to come, playing live gigs and writing material that would become their debut EP, Strange Aeons. The recording, set to be released by the band in late June of this year, has received a decent amount of praise from the press, as well as though who had the opportunity to check out their stream of the song "The Deep" on their official Bandcamp account. But, does the rest of the EP deliver, or does Akasava show they still need more time to mature?

Both the band and production quality channels the early occult and even doom side of the rock and metal worlds, standing as raw as the music the band themselves performs. Everything has an analog sixties quality to it that resonates the proper aura, even mystical atmospheres of the themes found throughout the EP. For the most part, it all works towards a goal of establishing a dark, often brooding sensation of ritualistic intent, set up by the brief, yet highly effective introductory track "Join the Ritual". The sound of organs from the aforementioned era enact a procession to one's own demise, as if torn from an early first wave black metal recording from a band like Mercyful Fate, or a more sinister side of Black Sabbath to say the least.

"The Deep" carries itself along slowly with infectious drum rhythms that instinctively have you bobbing your head along in obedience during the richer introduction and chorus. The louder, rougher vocals immediately show off an enthusiastic performance that doesn't care much about sticking in tune with the rest of the bleak, spirit crushing music. Given the intent of the performances, staying on key is not a priority, effectively enhancing the analog ritualism to a far more believable level. However, the main verses, and those very same rougher vocal harmonizations, show vague similarities to the Aerosmith classic "Come Together". Granted it's a broad statement given the fairly basic foundation in that song, but it's a loose similarity that, once heard or observed, becomes hard to shake.

"Black & White Lady" winds up just as dirty a hard rock track as you can get for the early doom era. The main verses carry a simple bass groove with a nice supporting distortion working alongside them, though the chorus has a a great deal of authority behind it. The track itself doesn't really go too far, much like "The Witch is Rising", though far more enjoyable compared to its forgettable predecessor. But then there's "Sons of Bastet", which takes Akasava in a largely different path of exploration. The gritty cut has a good dose of punk rebellion, the kind that lends a hand in the development of speed metal early on in its existence. You could also hear an odd similarity to White Zombie because of it, specifically the chorus to "Super-Charger Heaven". The distortions on this one are also pretty amped up to the point of coming off as something best described as fuzz sometimes, but for the most part the track is driven by the louder bass guitar, as well as cleaner chords for the impressive guitar solo.

Strange Aeons stands as a surprisingly honest slab of occult/doom in that even the faults on display only add to its charm. Akasava have some maturing to do, of course, mostly in the sense of properly ending a song. With exception to "Sons of Bastet", even "The Deep", you can't help but feel that there could have been more before the band decided to cut the track down in its prime, as if having just given up or just weren't sure where to go with it. This stands the only gripe that holds this raw example of sixties grit and ritualism back from being a truly astounding underground effort that, sadly, will still end up fairly overlooked by those without their ear to the ground, or open enough to look beyond what Rise Above Records is putting out this month. If you enjoy this brand of music, you need to sit yourself down and check out Strange Aeons as soon as possible.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.