Akercocke - Antichrist

Bleakest Harvest

\m/Misanthropic Hippy\m/
Nov 11, 2001
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Akercocke - Antichrist
Earache - MOSH347 - 28th May, 2007
By Paddy Walsh


Yes, i'm well aware of the lateness of this review, but I figured that to neglect an album by the mighty Akercocke would be tantamount to a rejection of what are possibly England's finest metal export this decade. 2005's Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone graced many an end of year 'best of' list, and deservedly so - its labyrinthine, consvulsing exercises in progged-up blackened death was a revelation, both accessible and challenging, whilst keeping intact Akercocke's penchant for the dark, overtly satanic aethetic that has graced every release since the band's inception.

Antichrist is perhaps most notable in that it takes a step back from the more gradiose tendecies of its predecessor, choosing instead to go down a somewhat more straighforward route. 'Summon the Antichrist' kicks things off in fine form, chock-full of Akercocke's stable blend of blast-beats and furious guitar work - and as ever, Jason Mendonca's vocals are a treat, all gutteral growls betwixt piercing shrieks that inject a wondrous sense of the macabre into proceedings. His oft-understated clean vocals continue to improve on Antichrist, sparingly used but to great effect. Production wise, Antichrist features a rawer sound than the precision-like mastering of Words..., which is initially a disappointment, but makes more and more sense with each passing listen,the more straighforward songwriting on display sounding beefed up to a degree by the dense, buzzing guitars.

Whilst Antichrist's less epic leanings are indeed a tad disappointing after the heights of Words... and Choronzon before it, Akercocke still exhibit a taste for the strange, as the bizarre 'The Promise' plays like a sort of satanic sex ritual of sorts, all brooding spoken word and middle eastern chanting. 'The Dark Inside', meanwhile, hits with an unexpected foray into electronic territory which surprisingly works a treat. Lyrically, of course, Akercocke stick to their well-trodden themes of Satan, nymphomaniac angels and, erm, Satan, but it's all pulled off with a rather stately panache, and is slightly more sophisticated than, say Deicide. Antichrist is a difficult album, by no means short of excellent moments, yet because of the stilted production and lack of a giant leap forward as were its predecessors, it comes across worse-off than it deserves. Akercocke, having absolutely spoiled us all with their previous two releases in particular, sound complacent in comparison with Antichrist, and yet it still comes highly recommended because, lets face it, no one pull off satanic black/death as well as Akercocke, and whether Antichrist stands up to Words... is irrelevant, as regardless it still stands well above a lot of the muck that passes for death metal in 2007.

Official Akercocke Website
Official Earache Website