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A Masterpiece - 100%

darkandfoul, May 8th, 2004

Akercoke are like a breath of fresh air in the world of black metal. There’s no corpse paint – instead the wear suits! But more importantly, they deliver a refreshingly new approach to black metal. Choronzon is a masterpiece. It delivers everything from a brutal death metal sound (with very deep, low, guttural vocals) to a clean singing style that will take you by surprise. It varies from extreme to mellow, from sinister to holy, and from chaos to harmony. There’s moments that sound a bit like Nile crossed with Brodequin, others that sound like Faith No More, and bits that sound generic of the black metal scene. But overall, it sounds like Akercocke, for they have created and mastered their own unique sound. Kind of like asking a Zen philosopher what an orange tastes like – to know what an orange tastes like, you must first taste an orange. To know what Akercocke sound like, you must listen to Akercoke!

The album takes a wile to get started, with a two-minute long instrumental track, followed by the first two minutes of “Praise The Name Of Satan” being more atmospheric filler. But when the “real” music starts – whoa! Extreme! Vocals – wow! I’d try to explain them, but there are no words to do justice. Then, the whole song changes, into a guitar solo, followed by more extreme vocals, this time down low. Then, another change into a slower bit. Followed by another change! Then, yes, another change, with spoken vocals. In fact, there’s no traditional structure to this song. No, Akercocke will not go verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus. In fact, “Praise The Name Of Satan”, has so many different riffs that it’s ridiculous. But at the same time, it all flows.

The next song, “Leviathan” starts up, and at first it sounds like a completely different band. Clean vocals, and all the extremity is gone. It continues this way for a while, and in typical fashion of the album, flows on from part to part, creating more and more riffs, switching between extreme and mellow. This song maintains it’s overall feel throughout, even though it constantly changes. A masterpiece in song writing.

“Enraptured By Evil” starts of extreme again, with some of the deepest and extreme death metal vocals I’ve ever heard. Again, the song constantly changes, yet maintains the overall feel throughout.

The title track, “Choronzon”, is a weird interlude instrumental song. Again, this is something brand new. I don’t know of any other album that has its title track as an interlude.

“Valley Of The Crucified” starts of sounding like something by Faith No More, but quickly progresses into a more generic black metal song, and eventually gets more extreme as it goes along.

“Bathylkopian Avatar” gets the award for the most extreme song on the album. Pure brutality. Off beat timing, dripping water effects, spoken word parts, electronic bits, the whole works.

“Scapegoat” starts off like the most extreme of death metal songs. Then it just keeps going along the path of extremity. Yet another sound for the band, moving away from black metal, again with some spoken word parts. Brutal, extreme, awesome.

“Son Of The Morning” breaks the mould again. It starts almost like any number of top 40 songs from the 1980’s, with clean singing, a kind of disco-like drumbeat, and keyboards. The clean vocals continue as the drums speed up, giving a kind of power metal cross death metal sound, until the whole thing turns into a death metal song. The familiar spoken voice comes back, and then it kicks back to some death metal. Diverse, original, Akercocke.

“Becoming The Adversary” follows the structure of the other songs on the album, in that it has no definable structure. Another of the more extreme songs, of course with its less extreme parts.

Overall, this is an amazing album. Truly unique, devoid of structure, and utterly amazing. The song writing is outstanding. Well-done Akercocke. Well-done indeed!