Akercocke - _Choronzon_
(Earache , 2003)
by: Jackie Smit (
I'm not a fan of Akercocke. Or shall I rephrase that and say: I -wasn't- a fan of Akercocke. To me the hype surrounding the massively lauded _Rape of the Bastard Nazarene_ effort was very much a case of the emperor's new clothes, and after witnessing the band performing a decidedly droll set in support of Cradle of Filth earlier this year, my opinion was virtually set in stone. That is, until I heard _Choronzon_.What is instantly appealing about Akercocke this time round is their overt eagerness to, for lack of a more appropriate phrase, boldly go where no death metal band has gone before. Instead of relentlessly blasting away and attempting to copy peers like Nile and Krisiun, they have opted instead to forge ahead into bleaker and more atmospheric territories with a clear nod given to classical music and the early '80s gothic dabbling of bands like Bauhaus. In this sense, the epic "Leviathan" stands out as perhaps the record's finest moment -- a coming together of every strength that this London-based collective possesses: the superb baritone of Jason Mendoca, the skintight drumming of David Gray and the band's undeniable penchant for conjuring melodies that are truly steeped in darkness.Not everything on _Choronzon_ screams perfection however. While they have definitely made several leaps forward in terms of songwriting and composition, songs like "Becoming the Adversary" are brought down by the band's enduring habit of splicing together sequences of pure genius with the kind of residuary scale-shredding that should by all rights have remained on the cutting room floor. The sheer overpowering impact of tracks like "Enraptured by Evil" more than compensate for these minor flaws however, and with another superb production job by Neil Kernon adding the final ingredient to musical cauldron, I'd think it's safe to say that Akercocke are well on their way to the next level.
(article published 11/23/2003)
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