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One Hell of a captivating ride - 97%

Against_The_Masses, October 29th, 2008

Whenever I am bored or sick of what’s going on in my daily life, I can always count on an Akercocke album to captivate my senses. The band’s third release, Choronzon, is actually the first album I heard from Akercocke, and was my introduction to their complex, enthralling style. I must admit, it took quite a while before I really “got” it. When I first turned this thing on, I know I enjoyed it, but it only barely connected with me on a superficial level. Most of the compositions passed me by subconsciously, and it was only a few months later that this excellent work’s significance hit me like a massive freight train.

So when you get right down to it, what exactly is offered here? Well, let’s see:

-dynamic heavy guitar work with chaotic riffs abound, remarkably sinister acoustic passages and too many well-composed solos to keep track of
-a mesmeric singing performance with very discrete style and tone
-exotic synths that only build atmosphere, add flavor to the music and aren’t overdone
-a skilled, vibrant bassist that you can actually hear
-varied drum sections ranging from violent blast-beats to distinct patterns with influences from jazz as well as numerous other genres
-vicious guttural death growls and blackened shrieks that offer the right dose of edginess and ferocity

Damn! And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the replay value offered here is amongst the highest I have encountered and is only really rivaled by Akercocke’s other albums. As with the traditional formula of this band, each song contains a seemingly endless procession of different compositions that require perhaps a dozen different listens just for one’s brain to be able to comprehend. Their overall structures are caked with mesmerizing diversity and creative technicality. They never get tiresome or predictable, and they always seem freshly ready for experience. Altogether, I think it’s quite clear that Choronzon really has about everything one could possibly want in a Metal album. Akercocke simply bring more to the table than almost any other. How they bring so many elements together into the melting pot, while making it work so fluently, is just extraordinary.

Now, I find it hard to imagine that there would actually be anything wrong here, but upon intense examination, I think there are a few minor errors that would hinder this album from a perfect score. Of course, they are the same tiny issues that have always bugged me such as too many ambient instrumentals/unneeded non-metal parts (the album’s two minute intro from some old film is a notable offender), and the blast sections from the drum kit sounding slightly buried in the mix of the production. But really, these slip-ups are like a richly beautiful young girl with fairly crooked teeth. The faults are indeed there, but the overall picture is just so exquisite and nearing perfection that these faults are more than overlookable, and pretty damn irrelevant most of the time.

All in all, I would recommend this album to just about anyone who’s interested in hearing just how far music can go beyond the verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula or any tedious clichés in general, as to me, Choronzon is a new way of experiencing music.