Review Summary: The British satanists have returned and brought the wrath of the Antichrist with them
Few fans thought that Akercocke could live up to previous albums after the departure of bassist Peter Theobalds leaving drummer David Gray and guitarist/vocalist Jason Mendonca as the sole original members. Those fans can rest assured as 'Antichrist' is another jewel in Akercoke's sublime satanic crown.
1. Black Messiah 2/5
A bit of a pointless fuzzy, run of the mill death metal intro but funny if you play it backwards, trust me
2. Summon The Antichrist 5/5
When you here the opening riff from this song you know that this is where the album starts. It's akin to having your head hit repeatedly with a hammer. The song then breaks into a clean vocal section where it's announced that Satan has entered the human race which a bit strange for Akercocke as they usually seem to have the 'explicit' lyrics growled and the inoffensive lyrics sung cleanly. Anyway, after the clean section, the song goes headfirst into a blasting marathon until the end of the track which will leave your neck aching.
3. Axiom 4/5
The track starts off with a nice acoustic part where Jason Mendonca sings over with some nice lyrical images (to me anyway) such as;
"Once the blood dries on the contract
All debts must be paid
Once the blood dries on the contract
You can never go back"
The track then gets heavier and heavier until the break when a nice reverb tinged solo comes and goes courtesy of Mr.Wilcock. The track then becomes heavy again and ends with the first part of the spoken section heard earlier on in the track which was
"I believe that when I die I shall rot
and nothing of my ego shall survive" which was quoted from Bertrand Russell who was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician and advocate for social reform. Akercoke are obviously delving a little deeper lyrically here.
4. The Promise 3.5/5
This song mainly consists of guitar feedback which Jason Mendonca speaks over. The track is an interlude of sorts but I personally prefer Akercocke instrumental interludes such as 'Prince Of The North'. This track is one of the more atmospheric tracks on the cd which would probably appeal to black metal fans. The song has some of my favourite Akercocke lyrics on it and they would certainly appeal to fans of Cradle Of Filth's lyrics
5. My Apterous Angel 5/5
This is what Akercocke really excel at. Hevy songs with a dark, gothic atmosphere laced with equal amounts of brutality and beauty. The song starts off with a quiet a quiet arpeggiated riff which then goes into a nice muted riff. Then crow samples are played along with a sitar sounding instrument, enhancing the doomy atmosphere. The song then slowly builds up and then gets heavier and faster from 1:30 on before a break where the guitars go back and forth playing nice clean parts. The song then gets faster once again until it breaks into a nice chugging riff at the end which the solos are played over. Definitely one of the best tracks on the album
6. Distant Fires Reflect In The Eyes Of Satan 4/5
This mostly instrumental track is the type of interlude which Akercocke really excel at. It brings to mind tracks like 'Prince Of The North' from Choronzon. It starts with a nice string section before it goes percussive with digereedoos and sitars and all sorts of other instuments are played over. There is then some tribal chanting before another percussion section enters with a horn sounding in the background. Very 'war march' sounding
7. Man Without Faith Or Trust 5/5
Probably the fastest song from the album. It starts with a riff which Jason Mendonca claims is played at over 300 bpm. The drums in this tracks really make your head explode with the sheer speed of them. Mr.Gray really outdoes himself here. The song does break down into a cleaner section as expected but it only lasts for the 3 lines that are spoken before getting heavier again. The music then gets heavy again but Mendonca doesn't grunt or shriek. He uses his new found primal yell which works very well on this song and on the whole album. A shreddy guitar solo then rips through the speakers which signals the end of the song
8. Dark Inside 5/5
This is going to be a dividing song among fans. It starts off as a usual Akercocke song. A mid-paced riff with Jason Menonca's deeper than thou death grunts over it. But then, a clean section enters with a guitar riff that could sit nicely on an Abba song. Then, when you think they've lost all of their kvltness they add in a techno section which works to astoundingly good effect. The song is then made heavier with a nice mid-paced meaty riff. The song then gets faster and stays that way until the end of the song where the poppy is repeated. Some of the fans may view this song as a horrible experiment gone wrong but, to me, this is the type of song that Akercocke have been striving to write since 'Words'
9. Footsteps Resound In An Empty Chapel 4/5
Another fast, heavy song in the vein of 'Man Without Faith Or Trust'. It begins quicky with Mendonca urging us to 'Deny the Father and the Son' in his new primal yelling. He then quicky switches to his black metal shriek and then to his death grunts. It's amazing he hasn't ripped his vocal chords to pieces yet. Towars the end of the song you have an extra clean guitar playing over the heavy riff which always reminds me of somthing off At The Gates 'Slaughter Of The Soul'. The clean guitar quickly makes way for a solo after which the song ends.
10. Epode 4/5
A suprise acoustic track at the end of the album. Will definitely jolt you out of your headbanging frenzy after the previous track. There is a string section played behind it which gives a great orchestrated effect. However, it loses a mark because of the cheesy lyrics. An acoustic love ballad to Satan, come on lads, you can do better than that. But then again, deah metal isn't renowned for it's subtlety with regards to Satanism
The version of the cd I have comes with 2 bonus tracks which are covers of Morbid Angel's 'Chapel Of Ghouls' and Death's 'Leprosy'. The only fault on Chapel Of Ghouls is that the solo doesn't have enough delay! However, no matter how much I try, the cover of 'Leprosy' does nothing for me. It's note perfect but ruined by Mendonca's vocals unfortunately.
All in all, this is a great album which lives up to Akercocke's infallable back catalogue. It contains the heavy/clean dynamics we've come to expect but it doesn't re-tread over previous ground. Mr.Mendonca has added yet another weapon to his vocal arsenal with his yelling style which works to great effect on 'Antichrist' They still haven't hit their peak yet but when they do, it's guaranteed to be devastating!