Akercocke, England’s diabolical, intelligent masters of brutality, have returned with Antichrist; an album of superbly executed, well contrasted and aurally punishing Death Metal. After spinning this album several times, I can find almost nothing to even begin to complain about…almost.

First off, Akercocke is a wickedly good band. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a better, more talented group of Death Metal musicians. Every single instrument on this album is handled with the utmost skill and passion. The album itself, as a whole (which is how it is best taken), is a fine example of emotional give and take; head-crushingly brutal one moment and soul-stirringly beautiful the next.

If I had to point out anything that I think is potentially harmful to the album, especially when it comes to finding new fans, is that it’s similar to Opeth’s past work. The melding of Death Metal and Prog Rock is amazing to listen to, and I don’t believe for one minute that it was Akercocke’s intent, but I found myself saying “Opeth…Opeth…Opeth, again…oh man…” at Antichrist’s many twists and turns. Not any one album, mind you. But there is enough similarity in the vibes and moods of the album that the comparison is basically unavoidable.

I hate to even bring it up, honestly, but I can hear your average up-and-coming Metalhead making the same comparison and, as much of a crime as it would be, write it off as an aping. Antichrist may be a daring, bold move for Akercocke itself, but certainly not something we’ve not heard before somewhere else.

I’m sure Akercocke’s embedded fan base will take violent exception to this (as I am sure they can hear things in this album I cannot), but as good as this album is musically, it is certainly just as Opeth-familiar. It won’t keep me from listening to it, and it shouldn’t keep you from listening to it either…it’s a fine record. But I’m fairly certain you’ll be muttering the other band’s name several times in the duration.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
August 6th, 2007


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