Hammer of Heretics

France’s Autokrator came across as a group of interest for this reviewer when I discovered Kevin Paradis of Benighted was associated with this group. I must admit that the cover art is what drew me in to checking out this album. What is interesting regarding the cover art is that it was constructed by the guitarist, L.F.  Having been around since 2014 this three piece play very technical, droning, brooding form of black-death metal. Opening up with “Against Flesh and Blood”, the first track builds with an almost black metallish trem picked phrase and then all of the sudden the guttural vocals and the bomb blast beats of Paradis commence and you get the feeling of an almost dirgier, murkier Hate Eternal. I mean that in regards to the drum patterns. The song arrangements are rather long on this. Four out of five tracks on the album clock in in between six to nine minutes in length. The opening track continues to build with a murky fuzz underneath the arpeggiated guitar lines and driving double bass. This is then followed by the up-tempo blast beat frenzy of Paradis and our introduction into vocalist David Bailey’s suffocating brutal gurgles.

There is a distinctly unique and gross vibe to the style of black-death metal that Autokrator is going for. This is not the most polished sound wise but I do not believe it is meant to be.  The first track makes me feel as though I am being sucked into some sort of vortex of intense pain and suffering. For clocking in at over six minutes there is a lot to digest. “Le Sang Impur” fades in gross bass feedback that fades in and creates a feel of dread right away.  Enter in some cymbal chokes and drum fills into some strong blasting again from Paradis.  Having not heard there first album I get the feeling that Paradis’s percussion adds another layer to Autokrator’s sound. David Bailey’s vocals are blend in quite well with all of the blistering speed and layered ambience going on.

The third track, “Interlude” sounds like a movie sample of some sort as the intro.  Interesting that they have a track called interlude in the middle of the record.  The title track, “Hammer of Heretics” opens up with more intense drum work and builds quite nicely into a cool groove section.  I must say I enjoy how the bass fuzz works with all of the other components going on. “Inquisito-Denounciatio_Exceptio” wraps up the album the record with a cool tribal sounding mid pacing riffs and drum fills.

Autokrator definitely make their presence felt with Hammer of Heretics.  The definitely blend a unique mix of black death metal in having huge long song arrangements with faster sections mixed up within.  I would definitely recommend this for fans of Incantation, Immolation, or even Ulcerate at times.  This is not cleanest record by any means.  I believe that is intended.  If you are into gross multi-faceted black death give this a go.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
May 3rd, 2018


  1. Commented by: Jay

    I did a review for this for another site I moonlight on and this fuckin’ blew me away. Mean as hell. Great review Nick!

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