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Some Akercocke reviews

Discussion in 'Earache' started by Lee_B, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. Lee_B

    Lee_B Readin' me posts are ya?

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  2. Lee_B

    Lee_B Readin' me posts are ya?

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    From www.live4metal.com



    Satan’s sharp-suited swingers are back. Not that this may mean much to you if you are reading this from outside the U.K. but on the strength of new album Choronzon, if you like your metal extreme you have no excuse at all not to search this out. I guess us Londoner’s are lucky having followed this band since their early incarnation as Salem Orchid right through to their recent dismemberment of Cradle Of Filth at the Astoria. To me the band have always been a bit of an enigma, outwardly friendly face to face but more than a little dark and mysterious on album. Last album Goat Of Mendes had the band ensconced on Peaceville but they moved away to Earache and have come back with an album that swaggers with confidence and is simply jaw dropping. Sometimes I only have to listen to an album a few times to get to grips with it but with Choronzon I feel that I will never manage this no matter how many times I play it. This is an album that is so downright complex you will hear different things every time you put it on. In other words this has longevity in the sea of metal mediocrity and is an album that I think will never get boring. There is no pigeonholing possible here either. Sometimes we are thrown into a tumultuous death metal affair which nods towards Bay Area thrash guitar structures and a Suffocation inclined assault. At others we are in the abyss of blackness, a place where Satan is screamed from the rooftops and the gates of hell are thrown wide open. It is still not that easy as we have atmospheric instrumentation that sounds more like Killing Joke than Killing Joke do now. Perhaps this is Akercocke’s Revelation and this is a band that can actually get away with calling the first track Praise The Name Of Satan. They even manage to justify one of the longest samples I have ever heard at the albums intro. One I hasten to add that has beaten me, but as Choronzon takes its name from an episode of Hammer House Of Horror I guess this is the likely suspect. A volley of blasts gives way to fresh and melodic guitar swathes that could just as easily belong in the hollow ground of Bauhaus. The rhythm is all over the place, as is the pace. Yet this is so tight that rather than leaving you perplexed it draws you right into its heart. At times you are left feeling that they may have mellowed the assault looking for more commercial acceptability. Give it 30 seconds and you will realise that this is not the case, rather than compromise Akercocke have expanded the senses. Prince Of The North is an instrumental that is Arabic and beguiling, listening to this I was reminded of the opening scenes of The Exorcist and took it as a summoning of demons. Leviathan sweeps in with clean vocals and Jason Mendonca proves that he can utilise any style that he chooses. The aforementioned Killing Joke are really evident in the occult swathes of guitar and bass, as are the likes of Godflesh and Jim Plotkin with the stop start judders. Enraptured By Evil about turns and picks up the speed with a torrent of stick abuse and unholy growls. Playing these two tracks back to back would have the casual novice thinking they were perhaps listening to two different bands. The keyboards are much more prolific especially on the slower numbers such as the title track. Ex- As She Screams synth player Daniel Reeves has added an elegiac grace to the flow here. Eerie industrial noise is the format of Upon Coriacious Wings and this nastily divulges into the thrashy battery of Scapegoat. The guitar squeals on this gloriously hark back toward the early Morbid Angel days and the vocals outstrip Glen Benton for breakfast. Add to the mix some technological Death Symbolic era guitar twists and you have one hell (no pun intended) of a track. Son Of The Morning has Jason singing or even crooning in a style not a million miles away from an 80s pop singer, in fact Spandau Ballet have to be cited. This should not put you off but leave you marvelling at both the scope on offer and the lush crystalline production as the melody unfolds around him. Goddess Flesh finalises things with a keyboard flourish reminiscent of early Mortiis and a calming vocal backing. Choronzon really does have it all and is surely a classic album from a band whose name maybe unpronounceable to many, but should soon be rolling off the tongues of you all.
     
  3. Lee_B

    Lee_B Readin' me posts are ya?

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  4. Jo

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    "Say hello to Satanic metal, oh so very dapper in a three-piece Armani suit. But gimmick schmimmick! This London based quartet's highly tailored, even snazzy appearance (being that they are the Robert Palmer's of the black arts), mirrors perfectly the structure and form of their precise and intense musical mastery. All encompassing and pleasantly challenging with layer upon layer of hellacious blasts, screaming guitar and a vocal onslaught ranging from Cannibal Corpse-esque growls to ear piercing schreeches. There is also the thetrical element, both visually and sonically which is by far classier than anything a million dollar major label blakk (?) band could ever pull off in the name of dastardly deeds with plastic fangs, face paint and latex. These guys are not only in league with Satan, they are in a league of their own."
     
  5. Jo

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    "UK based satanic/death metal act Akercocke's third release has to be their best yet. No sooner does the introduction piece "Praise the Name of Satan" finish does the devastation begin with grindcore leanings of "Prince of the North". The Eastern influenced introduction of "Leviathan" really stirs up some interest with its heavy guitar tones echoing with absolute clarity. The grindcore element continues with total demonic adandonment in "Enraptured by Evil", "Valley of the Crucified" and "Bathykolpian Avatar", while the amazing "Son of the Morning" brings to mind some Danzig inspired singing and eclectic atmospherics. Akercocke are something of an oddity within the extreme genre, and rewards those with a vivid imagination."
     
  6. Jo

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    "The Devil's Work - British Extremists Raise The Black Metal Bar.
    If you choose to view Satanism through Christian eyes, it's all too easy to reduce this often eminently sensible world view to a crass, childish cartoon. There have, after all, been countless bands that have been so desperate to be seen as evil that they have clumsily nailed their colours to the nearest inverted crucifix and made a mockery of themselves. Akercocke, on the other hand, have managed to let their music do the talking from day one, despite their sincerely satanic credentials. Those sharp-tailored suits certainly caught the eye when the band first surfaced, but once a dedicated ear was lent to what the band were actually doing, the truth soon emerged; this band has something fiercely original to contribute to the UK underground scene.
    The band's first two albums (1999's Rape Of The Bastard Nazarene and 2001's Goat Of Mendes) were both extraordinary achievements; startling shards of eccentric creativity that belied the impecunious circumstances in which they were made. This time round, however, Akercocke have had enough time and financial clout to deliver the album they've been threatening to make all along. And it's absolutely fucking magnificent.
    It's time to put all those long held prejudices about death and black metal aside. Yes, this band use elements of those often staid genres; there are inhuman, guttural vocals that owe a great deal to Suffocation's Effigy Of The Forgotten, vitriolic riffs that resound with the evil simplicity of Possessed's Seven Churches and enough Christ-slaughtering blastbeats from drummer David Gray to put even Morbid Angel's Pete Sandoval to shame.
    However, it would be grossly inaccurate to say that there is anything predictable about Akercocke's sound. The jarring, discordant bleakness of early Killing Joke, the obtuse, haphazard angularity and warped grooves of Voivod, Rush's sprawling song structures and the deviant menace of early Bauhaus are all here in abundance, too.
    The claustrophobic thrum and buzz of black-hearted electronica frequently rears its head, most notably on the final two, astonishing songs, Son of the Morning and Becoming the Adversary, and elsewhere there are countless moments of innovation that will dazzle and delight anyone lusting for a dash of the truly inspirational.
    This is one of those rare occasion when musical allegiances are rendered irrelevant. Whatever kind of music you generally listen to, this is one album that simply demands to be heard. The Devil doesn't just have all the best tunes, he also has the best album of 2003."
     
  7. Jo

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    "Satan’s gentlemen are back with their 3rd critically acclaimed recording Choronzon. For those who don’t know Akercocke are Satanists of the highest decree. Unlike most so-called satanic bands Akercocke are devoid of all the trappings that come with it, instead they wear tailored made suites and are cultured. Yes it brought a smile to my face too. I mean how evil can one be in a tuxedo? One listen and the smile is wiped away by the shear ferocity of the blast. Akercocke are a band that might not fit the satanic mold or Metal for that matter, but fuck can they play it, like few can. Akercocke certainly challenged themselves in creating Choronzon, as the time signatures these guys are pulling off are mind-blowing. Vocally there's a mix between grunter and clear melodic, while not coming off pretentious.
    After listing to Akercocke, you start to see the other satanic bands for what they are, clowns (hey, the world needs clowns right?) The track 'Son Of The Morning' starts off with a Depeche Mode sound to it then gets into the blast. When the guys whisper ‘I want to be alone with my God’ it all most makes you turn the lights off and commune with … Satan." 5/5
     
  8. Jo

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    "I could comment on this band’s inherent eccentricities and general weirdness, but I think I’ll just stick to discussing the actual music…
    Which, in this case, is highly impressive. I’ve said before, Death/Black Metal is not my bag, but these guys appear to be in a class of their own in the genre. They seem to capture an atmosphere which is very appropriate for this type of music. But they also infuse the sound with much light and shade – it’s chaotic blast beats and throat vocals one minute, and then grooves and almost soothingly quiet the next.
    Ever present too is the elaborate and high quality musicianship of players who’ve spent long hours practicing their art over the years.
    The cynical should attempt to see through the absurd satanic posturings of this Brit outfit, and enjoy some highly entertaining extreme Metal." - Akercocke get [​IMG]1/2
     
  9. Jo

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    "These Brits may be renowned for their silly suits and dogged insistence that Old Nick is a top bloke, but they also know how to make brutal, diverse metal records. The crushing death sound that forms the basis for Choronzon is impressive in its own right, as is the range of other influences thrown into the mix.
    Opening cut 'Praise the Name of Satan' features some futuristic guitar textures, while 'Enraptured by Evil' gets underway in a more traditional death vein. 'Prince of the North' benefits from some Mediterranean/eastern influences, while 'Leviathan' verges on high camp comedy thanks to its grandiose stadium-rock warbling.
    With so many musical angles at work across the album and within individual tracks, Choronzon sometimes creeps dangerously close to the disjointed self-indulgence of, say, Mr Bungle. However, credit must be given for welding such a range of styles into a convincing metal slab." - ***1/2
     
  10. Jo

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  11. Jo

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    Blunt magazine: "Well dressed Enlgish death band Akercocke have just unleashed their evil second album, Choronzon, a darkly complex and challenging metal release that continues on with the heavy Satanic themes established on their debut, 2001's The Goat of Mendes.
    "We don't believe in Satan as some sort of archetypal being with red horns and a tail in a subterranean hell, that's nonsense, that's a Christian idea," clarifies Jason Mendonca, Akercocke guitarist and co-songwriter with frontman David Gray.
    Strangely, while they may write insane metal songs and name them stuff like, "Praise the Name of Satan", these are old-fashioned English gentlemen.
    "The concept of being a gentleman, or being a lady for you girls out there, is slowly being forgotten," Mendonca observes. "I encounter more and more rude people as time goes on and I think people have less time and respect for each other in this curious consumerist Sega world we live in these days."

    Review: "English Satan worshippers who dress in suits and claim to be gentlemen, Akercocke have proved that they are not all pomp and ceremony with their second death/black metal concoction Choronzon. Using blast beats, intricate guitar work and atmospheric keyboards, Akercocke are capable of creating an absolute mindfuck of sound, but the beauty of what they do lies in the experimentation and cross-pollination of ideas. The way the instruments interrelate doesn't always seem logical, but it is always interesting, and, while they sometimes might put themselves out so far on a limb that it all becomes a bit pompous, I like that they put themselves out there in the first place." 7/10
     

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