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Album Review

One of the more adventurous extreme metal releases of 2003 came via demented British Satan-worshipping deviants Akercocke. Choronzon, the band's third full-length, scurries from highly melodic prog-classical moments to the most primitive, me-smash-'em death metal imaginable — and everything in-between. Shimmering and beautiful instrumental "Prince of the North" leads into "Leviathan," a highly sophisticated seven-minute cavalcade of surging riffs, clean vocals, and melodic peaks — only to be followed by "Enraptured by Evil," which, with its simplistic two-note, quadruple-time guitar jig, ludicrous blastbeats, and cupped-microphone vocal belches (brief melodic respite excepted), could be emotionally stunted Cannibal Corpse circa 1991. Take also the nefarious synths of instrumentals "Upon Coriaceous Wings" and "Choronzon" (think the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange); the Beneath the Remains-era Sepultura riffs of "Scapegoat"; the strangely catchy strains of "Son of the Morning" (before it explodes into shards of frosty Norwegian melodies, that is); the demented chamber music vibe of "Goddess Flesh"; the occasional flourish of processed electronic noise and percussion; the naked women in the CD booklet; the convincing, devout Satanist lyrics, and you get... um, well, a delirious, occasionally downright frightening, mishmash of metals, sometimes resembling Nile or Morbid Angel or Emperor or the kitchen sink, to the point where you're going to say it reminds you of both everything and nothing you've ever heard before. Akercocke is ambitious, to say the least, Choronzon nudging a few metallic boundaries into uncharted waters, despite a few questionable production choices (the full-on death metal blasts sound disappointingly thin, and the "brutal" vocals resemble a constipated gorilla), but consistently poking at the listener's cerebral cortex with its dizzying technicality. Sure, you'll be intoxicated on the fumes generated by all that gear-shifting, but the swirling mélange of sights, sounds, and smells Akercocke kicks up is often entertaining and artistically credible, both at the same time.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Infusing death metal with some electronic touches, the London-based quintet Akercocke was formed in early 1997 by guitarist Jason Mendonca and drummer David Gray, friends since their teens and bandmates in the band Salem Orchid. When that act split in 1992, the pair went their separate ways, reuniting in late 1996 and soon adding longtime acquaintances Paul Scanlan and Peter Theobalds to the fold on guitar and bass, respectively. Influenced by Voivod and Killing Joke, the band gained a live following,...
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Choronzon, Akercocke
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