Akercocke
Words That Go Unspoken...


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
May 30th, 2006 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


If you want to make your friends scared of you and your parents consider sending you to an institution for the criminally insane, you need only say two words. Death Metal. Nowadays the words spit out images of satan worshipping, scream-your-guts-out-in-a-demonic-growl vocals and fast chords. But that's just Behemoth. Death Metal is to many people widely unapproachable. Then again, why shouldn't it be? Most people listen to *** pop punk, Britney Spears, or soley the soundtrack to High School Musical. The future of America rests in the hands of these impressionable youngsters, and we have Xzibit pimping rides as a role model. But to be fair, Death Metal bands probably aren't the best role models either. Most music within the genre is very fast, very loud, and very unmelodious. But the emphasis is on most. Some bands bring the noise just as fast, just as loud, but with singing instead of flat scream. Scandalous, but true. This brings us to Akercocke. After their three previous albums, the UK quartet had built themselves up a reputation as being an extreme death/black metal band with a habit of performing in full suits and lacing their sound with electronics and keyboards. Intriguing, yes, but the execution is what brought the extreme audience to their knees. With a mixtrue of crunching guitar riffs, audible basslines, furious double bass pounding drums, and a vocalist whose voice hits every note, high or low, Akercocke assured themselves a solid fanbase and garnered themselves a reputation as being one of the most intriguing black/death metal bands to rise into being. After the success of their last three albums, Akercocke released Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone, an album released to prove that death metal is not a genre filled with idiot thrashers. Sometimes Death Metal dresses up and makes itself very kick-ass.

Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone is not your average Black/Death Metal album, to say the least. Everything from satanic lyrical content to actual singing to keyboard interludes to cannibalistic instumentals pop up, all within the 50 minutes Words contains. At the forefront of the musical chaos is frontman Jason Mendoca. Playing guitar and singing, Mendoca puts to shame many extreme metal vocalists. His vocals can range from pleasing baritone, to high pitched devilish shouts, to rumbling growls. What seperates Mendoca even further is that his cleanly produced growls can go lower than the average band. His lyrics are dark, with themes centralizing around Satan and sexuality. The two always seem to go hand in hand, eh? Mendoca's talent and variation makes Words all the more enjoyable. Often times he seems to take on the persona of the character he sings as. On the opening track Verdelet, Mendoca seems to be the Beast himself when he shouts "I curse this World, that it should keep turning. I curse this God, who decrees that I should die. I will give you Hell." Later in the very same song, Mendoca twists lore with graphic sex, bellowing "Nymphets demand coition aching for penetration". And you thought System of a Down were sexually freaky. System are prude virgins in comparison. Mendoca's got a pretty weird head on him. His grunts and wild cheap-exorcist-movie rants pop up throughout Words. On the eleven minute epic Shelter From The Sand, he decrees "Walking freely among the enemy, The Baptists lack of inner capacity; Philosophical sagacity; It is not seen as a defect, but as a sign of strength." One minute later, the song turns into a chruch bell/piano. At the end, a syncopated electric keyboard leads the song to it's conclusion. This is Death Metal? Akercocke defiantly answers with an emphatic yes.

Akercocke's sound on Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone is that of a band pushing the envelope of what Death Metal should be. They consistently show that they can grind with the best, as on late-album thrashers Seraphs and Silence and The Penance, but on the very two tracks before, they show off they're melodic, almost Tool-like talents. Words That Go Unspoken and Intractable (Words That Go Unspoken, Part 2) go hand in hand as being fine pieces of metal, but even the casual fan can enjoy Mendoca's near crooning of lines like "Singular rose with a secretive smile. Calonice, green eyes aflame. To scratch beneath the veneer, to see beneath the surface. Somewhere in between the idea and the action. Everything is real." Seperated, the lines are disjointed, but together the pain of the words seeps with heart. Because the lines are sung, an almost sad moment is induced because the words are actually understood. The Words That Go Unspoken saga is divided into four parts, with each track containing two different but thematically similar songs. It's an attest to Akercocke's talents to realize they wrote the same song four times differently, and with the same lyrical themes, but are able to maintain a level of interest high enough to not notice the fact you're listening to the same song with different tempos. The good thing is, the entire album works in this way. Driven by percussionist David Gray's double bass fury, Words explores the boundaries of what will sound good and remain death metal. It's bands that explore these boundaries that make history. This is why Akercocke's intrigue level is so high.

As with most death metal music, Akercocke's musicianship is at a premium. And it very well has to be. When Mendoca goes on an indistinguishable rampage, the music must be there to back him up. Guitarist Matty Wilcock and Mendoca are premium crunchers and grinders, with solos that would make the godfathers of hammer-ons and pull-offs proud. The furious guitar riff that opens Seduced sounds like an outtake of System of a Down's "Cigaro", but soon proves to be a demolishing headbanging riff from hell, with Gray furiously moving his feet to push the tempo faster than the average drummer could. Gray's work is impeccable on Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds that go Undone, oftentimes providing the most interesting part of the song. His work on the aforementioned Shelter from the Sand is remarkable, as he often works spare cymbal hits and quad runs into otherwise simple beats. Some might call it showing off, but more than likely it's proof of his skill with the sticks. Gray and 4-stringer Peter Theobalds share a telopathic connection necessary for any successful rhythm section. A main difference about Akercocke as opposed to other metal bands is that the bass is very much audible. Save for blasting metal riffs, Theobalds is very much free during verses to make for a varied listening experience. The instrumentation is forever an important part to a good band, and songwriter Mendoca knows that. His traded guitar solos with Wilcock at the end of The Penance are excellent, devilish pieces of work. Because of their virtuosity, Akercocke makes for a fun listen, even if your ears will bleed because of the noise.

So, with all the hoopla of electronics and piano, is Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone worth getting if your an extreme metalhead, a casual hard rock listener, or even worth getting at all? The question takes time to answer. Akercocke is very much death metal, which would put off that pissy casual listener. However, beneath the shell the genre puts over Akercocke, there is a band built on melody and fierce words. The album closes with Lex Talionis, a softer, never once hard funeral march, with stringing guitars and a haunting melody providing the foundation. Mendoca sighs deadly one liners like "An eye for an eye. Hollowed apathy, Weakened will. Emotional Mendicants, Blood to spill," creating a sad, nearly Inquisition-era song that closes with a horrifically dissonant chord to get the impression that the character personified has just been hung. With the song's dark feel and lyrical content, that would not surprise me. All in all, Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone is a monsterous effort from the UK quartet. Built off monsterous riffs and vocal prowess, Akercocke made their sound terrifically engineered to be a near beautiful blend of everything music can be. Making plentiful use of piano and acoustic guitars, Akercocke maintains it's claim as being one of the hardest, most intriguing Death Metal bands around today.

And you thought underOATH was so hardcore...

Recommended Tracks

Verdelet
Shelter from the Sand
Seraphs and Silence
Words That Go Unspoken (Both Parts)
Lex Talionis


Please rate and reply



Recent reviews by this author
Beach Slang Cheap Thrills On A Dead End StreetThe Men Tomorrow's Hits
Macintosh Plus FLORAL SHOPPEThe Dismemberment Plan Uncanney Valley
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 ExperienceThe Men New Moon
user ratings (208)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Shadows (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Toaster
May 30th 2006


343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely awesome album. There are many parts in here that make me shiver every time. The amateur clean vocals don't bother me a bit.

Neurotoxin
May 30th 2006


90 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Verdelet and Lex Talionis are wonderful songs.

metallicaman8
May 30th 2006


4677 Comments


Excellent album. Excellent review.

"And you though underOATH was so hardcore..."

did you mean "thought"?This Message Edited On 05.30.06

Txus
May 30th 2006


75 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favorite albums EVER. Great review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I suppose I need to check this out.

Brain Dead
May 30th 2006


1150 Comments


I am normally not into black or death metal, but the clean vocals make this sound intriguing.

Toaster
May 30th 2006


343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I personally think everyone needs to check this out. It seems sort of one-dimensional at first, but repeated listens bring out the true quality of this disc.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2006


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad people are liking this. Sorry for the typo at the end, I was a little rushed in the last paragraph.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was this your first d.m review Official?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2006


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep. Actually my first metal review at all. Actually my first harder rock review at all. I decided I'd do somehting other than Radiohead.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And it's much appreciated.
I've listened to the first two tracks, and I'm liking. Not sold on the vocals yet, but I'm sure I will be loving this album by its end.

pattern_recognition
May 30th 2006


950 Comments


A seriously good review of a seroiusly good album by a seriously good band.
Serious stuff.

Neoteric
May 31st 2006


3243 Comments


So you got round to this eh?

Well done.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2006


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Cathedral, I gotta thanks you for sending me this and getting me into something a bit more hardcore.

Neoteric
June 1st 2006


3243 Comments


No problem.

Jondur
June 5th 2006


92 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good album and a good review. Props for mentioning David Gray's drumming - very unusual in places for what remains essentially a death metal band.

Still think nothing matches the debut.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2006


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, I was sure this review would never be commented on again. Cheers.

The Jungler
June 5th 2006


4827 Comments


MO with a death metal review? Wow, Nice job.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2006


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Thom Yorke wouldn't speak to me after I did this. But we're on good terms now.

Hatshepsut
June 5th 2006


1997 Comments


Holy **** MusicOfficial reviewing a metal album. I thought you don't like metal.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy