Akimbo - Forging Steel and Laying Stone (Cover Artwork)


Akimbo: Forging Steel and Laying StoneForging Steel and Laying Stone (2006)
Alternative Tentacles

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JesseJesse
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I've been waiting for this album since last May, when I had my little outing with the band. On that tour, I heard live versions of new songs and was floored. It's no secret that Akimbo is one of my favorite bands out there today, constantly wowing me with their every move. Ever since I saw them live.
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I've been waiting for this album since last May, when I had my little outing with the band. On that tour, I heard live versions of new songs and was floored. It's no secret that Akimbo is one of my favorite bands out there today, constantly wowing me with their every move. Ever since I saw them live back in 2003, I've been haunting them like a bad fanboy ghost. Tracking down new album information, checking periodically for new shows...you know, basic adolescent fanboy stalkerdom. And apparently during that time that I spent all my waking hours listening to their records, someone opened their fucking ears and thought, "Oh Jesus, this band really is good, hunh?" And that someone was Jello Biafra.

Akimbo has earned nothing less than my unwavering praise, proving once and for all that I am indeed nothing more than a drooling fanboy in front of a laptop. You all knew that though, didn't you? Harshing Your Mellow gave us straightforward hardcore with a metal influence hiding in the background in 2002. The following year, Elephantine expanded on that idea bringing in heavier riffs and bigger production, forming a flawless record in my book. In 2004, Seventh Rule released City of the Stars, showing that the band was ever progressing towards that Black Sabbath riff-laden rock without denying their roots in punk and hardcore. It was also their first record with two guitars, and all in all it felt like it was missing something, like maybe it was a bit rushed, or maybe the band was just getting used to the two guitars. Then 2005 came and went, with the band touring the U.S. and Europe.

And finally, in 2006, everything culminates into what I believe will be known as the band's crucial album. Forging Steel and Laying Stone marks not only the band's first release for legendary punk label Alternative Tentacles, but also shows the band's maturity and headfirst dive into a new sound yet again. From start to finish, it is a solid thirty-eight minutes and fifty-one seconds of back-to-back riff, bridging the gap between riff-heavy rock like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and straight-up hardcore, with brief stop-offs in sludge, melodic, and speed variations of both genres.

First of all, the production on this album is finally up to par with the band's sound live. One of the main problems that previous albums have had has been trying to produce the album so it sounds like the band does when it plays live, which is loud as fuck and chaotic while being organized and spot-on rhythmically. And with Forging Steel and Laying Stone, every instrument gets the full value it deserves without being overproduced and stripped clean. As usual, the vocals are the most maddening scream/howl/shout/yell ever, but are constrained to the background, letting you know that what really matters is the music. And boy, does it ever matter.

From the chaotic opening riff of "Dangerousness" to the thundering close of "Ground Control to Major Bummer," Akimbo slays their way through twelve songs, each just as important as the last. "Rockness Monster," track two, shows the band working in melodic dueling guitar riffs that were present in the last album, but much more efficiently here. In fact, on this entire album, the guitars are pushed to the front, adding both to the complexity of the songs and the chaos. "Digging a Hole" (which can be found on the band's Myspace page) begins with an ultra heavy sludge bass riff until the whole thing explodes fiercely as a band and then comes back down and back up again. Sonically, the album pushes through not only changes in dynamics, but also switch-ups in time signatures and tempos, flipping the song head over heels in a barrage of riffs from start to finish. "Rickshaw" breaks halfway through being a hard rocker with a down-tempo 4/4 melodic guitar riff, and then "Tina, Bring Me the Axe!" tears into thrash territory before cutting into the best Zeppelin riff never written. Stuck straight in the middle is "Tower of the Elephant," a slower, more drawn out song that has just as much importance and heaviness as the rest of the album. And so on and so forth. "Sci-Fi Monster Violence" could have been cut straight off of Harshing Your Mellow while "Precious Moments" and "Maximillian: Jungle Warrior" bring back that Sabbath that we all know and love so much, with the later being another swung beat like "The Sorceress" from City of the Stars. And like all good Akimbo albums, it comes to one frighteningly amazing head with the last song, "Ground Control to Major Bummer," featuring the heaviest drumming ever with the craziest riffs and most tension building bringing the album both to climax and close.

Let it be known that Forging Steel and Laying Stone is a flawless fruition of the labors of a band that's been playing for eight long years. Sing out the praises, ring the bells, tell every one of your snot-nosed friends which album they need to cram down their throats and spew forth adoring prayers of sacrifice about how the new Gods of Rock have landed.


People who liked this also liked:
Paint It Black - ParadisePelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the ThawPlanes Mistaken For Stars - Up In Them GutsPlanes Mistaken For Stars - Fuck With FireThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartAkimbo - Navigating the BronzeAkimbo - ElephantineThe Sword - Age of WintersDillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the AmericasLords - Swords

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dannyoleson (February 27, 2008)

Akimbo is one of the best bands in Seattle!

kenada (January 1, 2007)

NOICE! score is for the album after -ONE- listen. magin that. mazin.

fighttolive (August 3, 2006)

I fucking hate when people assume cause a band screams, it makes them screamo. Bullshit, screaming shows passion and intensity, not that you're a pussy brokenhearted trendy loser. Hopefully this album will prove that to people.

Sirens (February 12, 2006)

God damn this album slays,

Tina Bring Me The Axe is fucking loud

Anonymous (January 27, 2006)

not fucking screamo

soulbleed (January 27, 2006)

this band never lets me down. fucking love it.

Jesse (January 26, 2006)

Touché, sickboi. I was sufficiently


sickboi (January 26, 2006)

You wanted to spit me?

But you usualyl swallow, why the sudden change in our routine?

Jesse (January 25, 2006)

It's relevant background information.

And, it's live reviewS. Two of 'em.

And I wanted to spit you, sickboi. Just you. You alone.


SilentStorms (January 25, 2006)

My bad, I meant Bucket Full of Teeth is screamo/grind/rock, and parts of their new album sound similar to akimbo, especially the sabbath-esque riffs.

sickboi (January 25, 2006)

You had to link your live review, didn't you?

jamespastepunk (January 25, 2006)

Alright, I'm gonna listen to a couple mp3s. I hope this kills.

inagreendase (January 25, 2006)

There is no grind whatsoever in this album. I have no idea where you heard that.

gladimnotemo (January 24, 2006)

Hey, they're playing here in March. Great, I will have to go see them.

SilentStorms (January 24, 2006)

Still kinda screamo, but you can't slap me. More Bucket Full of Teeth screamo/grind/rock. Hollatchya!

BrandonSideleau (January 24, 2006)

I REALLY like this album........kudos to Jello for picking this excellent band up. It's funny, one person was calling them "screamo" without even hearing them......I smacked him and told him to check out the record. Sounds more like screamed Black Sabbath to me. Great stuff.

gladimnotemo (January 24, 2006)

This is pretty righteous. I will check it out some more.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

This is some good shit. Sounds like latter-day SST stuff because of the way they mix 70's rock with hardcore.


lushj (January 24, 2006)

Nat from the band did the art. He riffed off of Alistair Crowley and.. well... there ya go! He'll be talking about the record and other stuff on the next AT podcast (sometime this week/weekend).

ElVaquero (January 24, 2006)

The CD art is also completely crazy awesome. Who did it?

ElVaquero (January 24, 2006)

I'm a little wary considering the "noodly" comment and the Zeppelin influence but I absolutely loved their last two albums so I'll check it out.

The album title is monstrous but I wish the song titles on this were half as cool as they used to be. "Maximillian: The Jungle Warrior" is an alright title, but I'm accustomed to seeing such greatness as "Bitten From The Thigh Of Zeus."

sirens (January 24, 2006)

Best metal band out their today, i cant wait to get this.

bleeding kansas is sick

if you like them and akimbo, check out Lex Vegas.

lushj (January 24, 2006)

Thanks for the review! I just added it to the record's page:


SilentStorms (January 24, 2006)

I expected a 9 to 10 score from this album, considering jesse reviewed it. But yeah, I love this band. Good fucking call! Hey jesse, check out Bleeding Kansas. Not as good as these guys, but ... well ... u know. Oh, and Mara'akate rules everyone. Errr, ruled.

rkl (January 24, 2006)

i went and dld this, and it was pretty damn good, suprisingly.
not that i knew anything about the band previously, but most of the stuff reviewed by the staff sucks. or is a little too cutting edge for my tastes, sucks is just easier to type.

Jesse (January 24, 2006)

Dante -

I think you can appreciate this album best by listening to their discography chronologically, but this is a really good one to start with. Check http://www.seventhrule.com and http://www.dopamine-records.com for past albums 'n shit.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

This is an amazing record.

ElVaquero (January 24, 2006)


Dante3000 (January 24, 2006)

I'm just happy they're finally on a label I can find at my local store. I was sick of digging around the shit-heaps known as Rasputians and Streetlight trying to find this shit.
I think I'll give it a whirl, unless there's a better album to start with, in which case I'll download (or mailorder) that one.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

this band is pretty good

superbastard (January 24, 2006)

oh how this music destroys. i love it.

etwiels88 (January 24, 2006)

i've heard a lot about this band but never really got around to checking them out, even after their last release. i'll check this out

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

Yay, another Novel-length Akimbo review from Jesse.

Jesse (January 24, 2006)

It gets noodley because there's a huge Sabbath/Zep influence...it's not really a hardcore album in the typical sense of the word...

inagreendase (January 24, 2006)

This really gets noodly after the first couple songs, but I'm liking it. Wall-of-sound hardcore with punk rock / hardcore riffs making up the sound and metalcore vocals pushing it all the way.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

jello biafra is a genius.

I also love AT"s reissue series.

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