Akercocke - _The Goat of Mendes_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
With their pattern of using naked women and Satanic imagery to adorn their black and white album covers, occasional sounds approximating the moaning and groaning of a woman in the throes of ecstasy, song titles such as "Of Menstrual Blood and Semen" and plenty of blasting passages with screeching vocals, Akercocke are bound to be compared to early Cradle of Filth. There is, however, much more to Akercocke's second full-length _The Goat of Mendes_ than what may initially be apparent. Akercocke's Satan-worshipping black/death metal is combined with surprising elements -- such as clean vocal passages and frequent atmosphere-building instrumentation and effects -- to produce a record which is often musically more adventurous and complex than one might initially think. A very significant part of the record is made of blastbeats and screams or crunchy death riffs and grunts, but Akercocke always seem willing to induce a certain awkwardness in the listener through unexpected twists and odd sounds in their music. Considerably more involved and accomplished than the band's intriguing debut _Rape of the Bastard Nazerene_ (sic) [CoC #42], _The Goat of Mendes_ also boasts superior, less cavernous sound quality compared to its predecessor, as well as more blastbeats and far more CoF-like screaming. At its best, _TGoM_ succeeds in keeping the listener simultaneously interested and feeling somewhat uneasy. However, the middle part of the album seems somewhat less inspired than the first couple of tracks, fourth track "Horns of Baphomet" and album closer "Ceremony of Nine Angels" (which are also the album's four longest tracks). _The Goat of Mendes_ is a record that a lot of people will not take seriously and may overlook because of its over-the-top Satanic black mass imagery -- but well-constructed, varied and powerful tracks such as "A Skin For Dancing In" prove that Akercocke are well above the majority of the often rather stereotypical black/death that gets released these days. [Paul Schwarz: "Seen as a "death metal" band, Akercocke have Nile looking over their shoulders and Cryptopsy scrambling to regain and improve on the darkened atmosphere of _None So Vile_; seen as a "black metal" band, Akercocke make Mayhem, Emperor and even Satyricon turn a contrasted grey; but Akercocke's essential beauty and brilliance is that they need ally themselves with neither label. _The Goat of Mendes_ is extreme metal, and at its finest: simultaneously surging forward into the style's future, and reliving its glorious past."]
(article published 12/8/2001)
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