What distinguishes Akercocke from other bands in the mystery region of blending enemy-metal-genres is the highly meticulous and detailed aesthetics of their music. A successful combination of black metal riffs with death metal guitars, for instance. No other band combining two foreign worlds, has managed to create a whole new approach: a well-designed aesthetic scroll of their very own.
This aesthetic charter defined from the surface to the deep bottom – start from the visual side, the sight of men in black suits, their hot-red eyes lurking behind sun-glasses. Oh-so-elegant those men are. The ultimate proof that even Satan-worshipers can have a style that your grandmother would like. I must admit that even when they shove naked women to highlight the booklet, it looked somehow classy, though I reject that chauvinistic attitude, not to mention that I rather overlook the satanic manner that governs their ethos, just to treat it as a research of the dark side of mankind.
Back to aesthetics, lesson two – the production is so clear, so clean, that one can hear every string attached, every bit on the drums, even Jason Mendonca’s throat getting ready for another vocal bombing. Much like Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt, Mendonca have a star down his mouth – infernal growls, high shrieks and crystal-like clean vocals. David Gray’s drumming is quite stunning – intense and complicated, combining naturally death metal techniques and black metal velocity and feel. All true regarding the guitar work, which is innovative through this delicate turf of borders that cannot easily be crossed. There’s even a slight touch of keyboards, which give the majestic feeling, but not on the account of the aggression and brutality.
Many bands have tried their share of the peace-talks between death metal and black metal. Few of them succeeded. But it seems that Akercocke brought it to another level and signed the peace treaty. In just one song, there appears a vary of fast passages between death metal to black metal and the outcome is so natural, that one might believe that the rivalry between the genres has never existed. The guitars can sounds at one part like lying on the Florida- or even Brighton beach. In the next part, they can talk like walking the snow fields of Norway. In between, appears haunting ethereal solos, carving chills and oriental samples, bringing yet again the east to the United Kingdom. Moreover, the band’s melodic sense is just wonderful. During the listening I could easily bear the name of some riffs to be the absolute manifestation of metal, and what I love in it.
The album lacks one main root, as it’s consisting on the verge of changing again and again the moods of aggression and ambience, all rather black and dark. Hence, the musicianship is varied, presenting the band as vast-rooted, but with explicit vision of create something new from the existing material. Though the chosen ethos, the album delivers a strong spiritual feeling, in the well-written lyrics and in the general atmosphere, hacking and tackling.
The song which represents itself in the best manner in the Akercocke repertoire is “Leviathan”, a wicked mix of aggression and magic: a blend of clean, brutal and blurred guitars, all shine to the point of perfect sound, wrapped in clever and complex arrangements and tight performing, leads to the pure enjoyment from the ecstasy of music, when a malicious smile rule your face. Satan has won.
01 – Praise The Name Of Satan