Naas Alcameth, best known for his work in Nightbringer, has had a separate project since 2009 known as Akhlys, whose second album will be soon released by Debemur Morti Productions. The new Akhlys album is entitled The Dreaming I, and as the title suggests, it was inspired by its creator’s uncommon dreams and the role of such lucid para-somnia experiences in esoteric belief and practice. One track from the album has previously premiered (“Consummation”), and today we have the pleasure of bringing you the debut of another track, the one that opens the album: “Breath and Levitation“.
Dreaming is the thematic subject of the album as well as the source of its inspiration, but we’re not talking about mundane, commonplace dreams — and the music is anything but mundane or commonplace. Clues to what lies within may be found in the name of this project. To quote from a recent interview by Nass Alcameth:
[Akhlys] was said to be the personification of the “death mist”, the clouding over of the eyes upon death, and in turn personified death, misery, despair, and so on. She was also said to have been an original personification of primordial darkness/night that existed before chaos. What we can determine from these fragments is that she was associated to both death and profound darkness, the two of which indicate a crossroads, or an inlet from life into the darkness beyond life. This crossing of the veil has much synchronicity with the crossing that can be experienced via certain lucid dream states and there is much intimacy between these parallels, that of death and of dreams.
For those familiar with the first Akhlys album, Supplication, The Dreaming I may come as a surprise. Where that first work was devoted more to dark ambient music than to black metal, the new one reverses the order of dominance, though without abandoning the influence of ambient music. This change of musical focus is evident on “Breath and Levitation”.
The song is a black metal hurricane, with cascading sheets of scything riffs moving in waves over a maelstrom of blasting drumbeats (performed by a drummer known on this album as Ain). Rippling guitar melodies move through the storm as if lightning had taken the form of serpents, and the power and esoteric atmosphere of the song are enhanced by the sweep of panoramic ambient sounds. The vocals are feral and explosive, rising from bestial roars into jagged shrieks of unbounded passion.
The song is a fine example of one of the paradoxes of atmospheric black metal: the pick-hands and the drummer’s limbs move at blazing speed, and yet the ominous but transfixing melodies flow in stately rolling waves. In this case it produces a dramatic, emotionally intense experience, generating an aura that’s both harrowingly aggressive and mesmerizingly mystical.
Van Gogh once explained: “I dream my painting and then paint my dream.” And it seems that a similar creative process led to this song, and this album. Judging from the music, Naas Alcameth must have some very dark dreams, but they have inspired some very fine music — as you are about to discover for yourselves.
The Dreaming I will be released on April 10 and can be pre-ordered via the first link below. It features striking cover art by David Herrerias.
For those who are interested in exploring the first Akhlys album, Supplication, it’s available for streaming and download in remastered form via Bandcamp, and I’m including a link to that below as well. And after “Breath and Levitation”, I’m also including a stream of the edited version of “Consummation” from The Dreaming I.
Note: The stream below is an edited version of the song as it appears on the album.