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Akercocke - Hidden Masterpiece, Satan IS Pleased - 95%

godofgomorrah, February 24th, 2009

This album is a masterpiece by the suit-clad English Satanists, Akercocke. It starts with Praise the Name of Satan, and it is a fitting tribute. Beginning with a spooky intro taken from the film, the Exorcist (I believe) it is effective and builds up to the beginning of the song. I think it might be unnecessarily long but you soon forget about it when the song begins with the speedy drum rolls. You may think it is pure black metal at this point but with a lot less distortion and better production qualities, but the album is a mix of black metal, death metal and other avant stuff. Eastern melodies are used quite a lot. The only downside to the album is that the songs don’t flow into each other (each song is a masterpiece on its own) and that there are too many instrumental passages in between songs.

The atmosphere created by the dissonant guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, acoustics and vocals as a whole is amazing. The drumming amazing is extremely fast and well put together, some of the fills are extremely fast and cymbals are used really well but not extensively. Of course there are blast beats. The vocals on the whole album vary between death growls, real dog vocals, black metal screams, bass male singing and mad-man shouting. All of which are done extremely well. The riffs are extremely well written, they are catchy as Satan's claws but evil sounding and aggressive, especially in songs such as Praise the Name of Satan and Leviathan. The guitar playing is super smooth, solos are well written with use of whammy bar, sweeping, everything really but always adding to the atmosphere. The bass is not always heard and doesn’t do too much but you can definitely feel it adding to the bottom end.

Praise the name of Satan and Leviathan are the two outstanding tracks. They both are long and contain so many different sections; it’s like a haunting journey. There isn’t much to say about them, but if you’re not convinced look up leviathan on YouTube, it isn’t the full version but you’ll understand what I mean. They are just great songs, atmosphere yet intensity and they always keep you on the edge of your seat. Leviathan has a great end section with whammy solos and some heavy riffing alternating. These two songs are quite clever in their use of dissonance, and they use subtle techniques to move the riffs along so that they don’t just sit there, small variations etc... (Triplets as well).

Enraptured by Evil, Scapegoat and Becoming the Adversary are some of the pure brutal songs on this album. No frills and eerie, dreamy or clever build-ups here, just pure riffs. The guitar tone is extremely heavy and the vocals are awesome on these songs. And of course there are tons of blast-beats.

There are also some softer songs on here, which are pretty dreamy all the way through. Valley of the Crucified is the first example of this, this majestic keyboard floats above the distorted guitars and the singing is well done. It seems to swell up as you get further until you here some mid tempo riffs and screams. And then of course the dissonant guitars. You actually hear the bass in this song doing some things. Bathyklopian Avatar is the next one, the drums are so groovy (for lack of a better word) here, and the riff sounds so cool over the top. It meanders a while between heavy riffs and growling and then back to the dreamy interludes. At about 2:00 I hear one of the coolest riffs but it isn’t brutal just hovers amidst the clouds of noise. The last one is Son of the Morning, which is a bit pointless and repetitive but not boring I think. It’s captivating and there’s a lot of bass, the lyrics are really interesting here and you can hear them well. There is a really almost-Taake-like riff later on.

And there are 4 filler songs with eerie noises and synthesizers.

Overall the albums lyrics are mostly about Satan, satanic philosophies and other occult things. When you can understand them I find myself straining to understand. The production has all been done at their own studio, but it is excellent. Great use of panning and they really knew how to balance the mix and get a great guitar tone. They use synthesizers or samples in some places very nicely.

This album is fantastic, brutal, haunting, epic, majestic, dreamy, crushing and in some places scary

By Emiel .