Akercocke - _Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone_
(Earache Records, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (
Don't be surprised if one or more variations of the word "challenging" follows Akercocke's fourth full-length around like a shadow in the discussions that will inevitably take place about this record for months and even years to come -- for as much as other bands would claim to be progressive in their songwriting, Akercocke have elevated the art to heights that very few have dared to explore. This isn't especially shocking; after all, they hinted at just such an adventurous direction a fair bit on 2003's _Choronzon_. This time round however, they're playing on a decidedly more bombastic scale -- think "Leviathan" on a more grandiose level and you start to get the idea.As much as this step forward makes for a highly intriguing and captivating listening experience, there are some that will genuinely loathe what the band has done; not simply just because Jason Mendonca's clean singing now shares an almost equal footing to his inhumanly deep death grunts, but also for the fact that the frenzied whirlwind of death and black metal has taken a step into the background, and no longer dominates the proceedings as it did previously. Consequently, first listens would suggest that the record is more accessible -- which isn't untrue by any means, and is helped by a more solid and consistent mix. At the same time, this is light years away from being commercial: it really is Akercocke at their darkest and most ominous; each song sounding singularly focused, stripped of the extraneous elements that often permeated through so much of their previous work.Given all of this, it's ironic that the album should still be let down on the odd occasion by self-indulgence; the ham-fisted cackling on "Shelter From the Sand" being a particular example of the sort of credibility-tarnishing drivel that lends itself far more to Cradle of Filth's camp aesthetics than truly bona fide extremity. It's a relatively minute extravagance though, and certainly takes nothing away from the fact that this album has underlined once again that Akercocke are one of the UK's extreme music trump cards.
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