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Akimbo - Forging Steel and Laying Stones

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Artist: Akimbo

Album: Forging Steel and Laying Stones

Label: Alternative Tentacles

Review date: May. 14, 2006

Akimbo is a heavy quartet from Seattle that brings something to the weighty, vast table of danger that their peers and colleagues often forget: fun. Forging Steel and Laying Stone, despite all the aggression and force it delivers, rocks with a pack of jokers in the back pocket, lugging around candy weapons that fire gummy-worm mortars and Sour Patch Kid buckshot. If you could hear a band smiling, ear to ear as they gleefully decimate a basement with destructive volume, it would sound like Akimbo.

Trading in the middle ground between early-’90s tense, mathy post-hardcore a la Drive Like Jehu, and the fierce, metallic late-’90s counterpart such as Botch or early Cave In, Akimbo sets to bash their audience to a disoriented stupor right off the bat. Structurally tense, groove-oriented bodyslams like opening cut “Dangerousness” and the off-the-rails freneticism of “Spooning with Disaster” kick things off at a pace the band thankfully never forsakes. When things slow down, as in the album’s centerpiece “Tower of the Elephant,” it does so by replacing the skate jams with heavy, head-banging riffs and even more intensity. All the excitement of extreme sports – and none of the injuries that can result – are packed into Forging Steel.

I’ve mentioned in my writings here before that there’s a right and a wrong way to attack genre. Akimbo seems to be aware of this; they’re not reinventing the wheel, they just want to beat you down sonically and have a good time doing so. Sometimes there’s a lot to be said for keeping your goals simple and not trying to plant a flag; in doing so, Akimbo has successfully captured the raucous spirit of early hardcore without engendering itself to any one style or politic. It’s a wild ride that you don’t need to think about to enjoy.

By Doug Mosurock

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