It's been sometime since we've heard from France's Akin; The Way Things End is their first album since 2003. Yet, they've returned in grand style, melding their melodic progressive rock with a string quartet. This component successfully adds both atmosphere and color to many songs.
You'll note this element among Akin's rich prog arrangements from the start. Both The 92nd Flight and Cassandra avail themselves of a symphonic motif and versatile arrangements. Similarly, the varied arrangements, without overbearing complexity, come on the quartet of concluding songs. Notable here is the Eastern intrigue within Miller's End provided by guest musicians. Then there's When and Miracles that strut themselves as nearly pure rock songs. Also, Akin can be a bit quirky like the strange vocal refrain with Enter Spaceman.
Mostly the arrangements offer contrasts of lightness and heaviness. The former often comes with female lead Adeline Gurtner's vocals over minimal and light instrumentation. The latter often comes from the rich, sometimes edgy, guitar solos of Matthieu Baker. Sometimes the vocals lead into this broader crescendo. With the string quartet, rather than synthesizers, providing the symphonic atmosphere, there is also a greater sense of authenticity across this album.
Largely, Akin's The Way Things End is a diverse and entertaining dish of melodic and symphonic progressive rock. Recommended.