When I first heard Akercocke it was with their ‘Choronzon’ album, back in 2003, it left me amazed, baffled and intrigued. The band blended so many ideas and influences into one single song that I needed a good couple of spins before I was able to fully grasp and learned to appreciate it. And although I haven’t followed the band on each step in their further career, everything I heard afterwards followed the steps taken on their first three records, further perfecting their rather schizophrenic antichristian frenzy.
Whether it is because Akercocke isn’t quite the most prolific band around or maybe for different reasons, but over the years lots of band members went and came or started side-projects. A quick glance over the current line-up of Akercocke learns that they are or were also in bands like My Dying Bride, Mortician, The Berzerker and Anaal Nathrakh. That actually pretty much sums it up rather accurately: a bunch of guys with a rather wide taste in music, as long as its heavy and/or dark.
In the line-up of The Antichrist Imprerium we do find David Gray (Akercocke, ex-The Berzerker), Matt Wilcock (The Berzerker, Abramalin, ex-Akercocke), Samual Loynes (Akercocke) and Sam Bean (The Berzerker). Although musically not quite comparable, it is no surprise that The Antichrist Imperium has a similar way of melting together different sorts of influences and musical ideas. The result is a surprising equally schizophrenic, twisted piece of dark and wicked art.
Musically they also offer a rather appealing blend of Black Metal and Death Metal, but throw in a lot of 80’s sounding Dark Wave in for a mesmerizing ambience. The fast blast beat driven madness goes hand in hand with a deeply melancholic melodicism, exactly in the same way that the brutal vocal delivery has no problem duelling with dark and deep clean vocals or even spoken word. Samual Loynes, keyboard player and sampler in Akercocke, proves to possess an impressing vocal talent as well.
There is no real fitting musical comparison to be drawn, but there are certainly similarities to bands like Behemoth, mid-era Morbid Angel and even Deicide on the bands strong Death/Black Metal base, for its melancholic side you can think of bands like Katatonia, Moonspell, Tiamat or even something like the London-based Light Of The Morning Star.
It might require a bit of a trained ear, just like I needed some time to let Akercocke’s genius sink in, but this third album of The Antichrist Imperium, ‘Volume III: Satan In His Original Glory’, is a an absolutely masterfully crafted, dark and purely satanic ride.