I still remember that fateful day in 2003 when I stumbled on Cannibal Corpse’s “Shredded Humans.” My uninitiated ears now experienced music that debunked the facade of the “extreme” and “frightening” nu-metal music I was into. THIS was scary music. Forget about Disturbed, Cannibal Corpse was actually disturbing. Though not an initial convert, I eventually came to understand and embrace the world of extreme metal. Although, being the fine-standing Catholic boy that I was, I still found myself staying away from the heavily anti-Christian bands. No inverted crosses on the cover or in the band’s logo! That was my rule. It was during this era of my music taste that I happened upon British musical extremists Akercocke. Let me tell you, it was like “Shredded Humans” all over again…it freaked me the hell out.
Well, 15 year old Catholics aren’t necessarily Akercocke’s target demographic. But even at the time, I knew there was something interesting just below the possessed shrieks and disturbing atmosphere. Maybe it was the sincerity with which they presented their ideologies. A profound embrace of earthly pleasures with the simultaneous defiance of God’s existence, heavy shit for me at the time. Well-dressed and groomed, the band members just seemed to have a presence and an authority about them. They didn’t have to scream in your face to grab your attention (although they had no qualms in doing so!).
Good music is good music though and I could only avert my god-fearing eyes for so long. Antichrist had just been released, so I decided to check that out. My return to Akercocke ended up being a crucial step in crafting my taste in music. Not only had I discovered what would become one of my favorite bands but also ended up broadening my musical horizons in the process. The experimentation throughout the work at once proved the true versatility of heavy metal. Literally every sound on the album is unique. The decidedly ritualistic and Middle-Eastern music offerings like “Distant Fires Reflect In The Eyes Of Satan” and “The Promise” and the brilliant pairing of acoustic guitar with blast beats in “Axiom” are really only the tip of the iceberg with Antichrist. Akercocke has that depth only few bands can ever hope to achieve. After two years of spinning this album, I still pick up on fantastic sounds that were hidden from me.
I’ve tried to label them. A death metal Rush. A more sinister and experimental Opeth. They really have no peers in the music they create. To generalize them as death/black metal, as I’ve seen done many times, is truly a disservice to Akercocke. Their unique sound along with their continued ability and expressed belief in experimentation from album to album really sets them apart as one of the few true progressive metal bands around today. Though I failed to understand as a 15 year old, I’ve now been baptized in the beauty of their music. Have you? Heed the orders within “The Promise”: “Draw near. Partake of this altar.”
Label: Earache Records
Avantgenre: Experiments In New And Heavy Sounds
Origin: United Kingdom
Official site: http://www.akercocke.com/
Review online since: 11.08.2010 / 00:00:00
01 – Black Messiah