Voices (UK)
London


5.0
classic

Review

by TheAkerstache USER (3 Reviews)
May 25th, 2018 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A mirror into our soul, London is a perfect representation of the human condition.

Perfect. - Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

Voices is the bastard child of four men, Dan Abela, Sam Loynes, Peter Benjamin, and David Gray; two of which were originally members of the now reinstated Akercocke. Formed in lieu of the ‘Cocke’s breakup, their debut From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain was released in 2011 to mixed success. While it showed plenty of promise, it had trouble establishing an identity for Voices, feeling more like a lost Akercocke album than a separate project. It wasn’t until London that they established their identity, distinguishing themselves from their father with an album rife with unbridled rage and horror.

London is a concept album, while its story is complex and layered (read the excellent analysis by TheNemeton91 here: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/77070/Voices-UK-London/ ), it ultimately embraces one central theme. Humanity’s greatest fault, our selfish nature. This theme is ordered through the story of a man who embraces the evil within and acts on every cruel desire he feels fit to enact, ultimately culminating in a violent murder. While we tell ourselves that we would never do that which our character does, his thought patterns mirror many of ours. He views himself as an actor, the main draw on the stage of life. He deludes himself, believing that he is not only the lead in his own life, but in others as well. Think upon it, how often have you thought this same way, justifying despicable actions because you are the actor in your own great tragedy? London is not a terrifying album because its lyrical themes are dark, it’s terrifying because it’s personal. Jealousy, rage, selfishness, you relate to the actor. It’s this relation, this common human element, which digs itself into you and leaves a lasting impression.

The experience is only heightened by the music presented. The compositions still maintain many of Akercocke’s stylings, hard riffs, vicious drumming, a warbling howl over melancholic chords, however the presentation is vastly different. The riffs take on a shape of their own, oozing filth and rot. Songs like "Megan" would normally falter under such repetition, but as the song progresses it decays, captivating you with its repeating riff until it’s lodged in your brain. A feeling of paranoia washes over you, and by the time “Megan” is whispered for the last time you feel cold and alone, connected only to London. David Gray’s drumming takes on a new life as well, pummeling you into submission with a ferocity unmatched by even the early days of Akercocke, instilling you with rage and hate. However, the real distinguishing motif of London is Peter Benjamin’s vocals. While his cleans could be compared to Jason Mendonça, Benjamin’s warble contains a fragility that intensifies the vile scene presented. The flipside presents his growl, attributing similarities to Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) with its clear enunciation and powerful roar. With these two stylings he creates a dichotomy, London ’s bipolar nature allows it to manipulate your emotions. Because of its continually contorting emotional base it never lets you relax, switching your passions on a dime. From rage you feel fear, to hate, to grief, to rage again, creating paranoia within you. With every switch in your emotional state the suspicious delusions rise, a foreboding sense of evil, building until the final static of "Cold Harbour Lane" leaves you in the silence, hatred and fear radiating from your core.

Now it should be warned that London is not for the faint of heart. It’s undesirable by most counts, the production is loud and compressed, nearly guaranteeing you a headache by its end. The compositions tend to drag at times, repeating elements ad nauseam. Even the most praiseworthy aspect of the music, Peter Benjamin’s voice, is flawed. His voice is difficult, pertaining many frustrating and grating qualities, as much a turn-off to Voices’ sound as a turn-on. But each flaw is the justification for a perfect score. “To err is human” is the philosophy of London, what proper representation of the bleak nature of our souls can be flawless? Flawlessness is a pipe dream in the explanation of the human condition, there can be no glistening descriptor of our species. London ’s perfection isn’t attained through flawlessness, but its resonation through the horrors of humanity. So embrace Voices, all their rot, decay, and filth. Let them embrace you, for they understand you. London knows you, look into it and you’ll find a mirror to your soul, flawed, dirty, disgusting. Perfect.


user ratings (61)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
TheNemeton91 (4.5)
Maniacal British Neo-Noir...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheAkerstache
May 25th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That took way longer than it should have, hopefully I was able to accurately describe how sick and twisted this album. Also, check out TheNemeton91's far better review: https://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/77070/Voices-UK-London/. This was a complimentary review with him to attempt to dissect this dense, vile, and absolutely glorious album.

LethalPaintball
May 26th 2018


1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

im interested

TheAkerstache
May 26th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Really glad I was able to pique your interest! These guys deserve as much exposure as they can get.



https://candlelightrecordsuk.bandcamp.com/album/london

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2018


3406 Comments


Album is an instant classic. Hoping history treats Voices and Akercocke well.

TheNemeton91
May 26th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well done, mate! You kept Your initial (perfection) premise much briefer than I was anticipating. I didn't expect You to make so many personal appeals to the reader, asking for a deep (perhaps uncomfortable) honesty. I've always appreciated subjective appeals in reviews, what with these communities being so obsessed with being 'objective' (despite the fact that almost nothing about the musical experience escapes the subjective lol).



I'm really pleased with how much ground we've covered! There's little to no overlap between our reviews, and they both offer a different read. I'd say we accomplished what we set out to do. :D



Also, cheers for the name drop :3

TheNemeton91
May 26th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Also bravo for having the fortitude for brevity - Something I (clearly) have to fight tooth-and-nail to maintain! lmao

Elynna
May 26th 2018


412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will definitely be checking this! Pos'd

Digging: Ningen-Isu - Taihai Geijutsu Ten

TheAkerstache
May 26th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the kind words all!

LethalPaintball
May 26th 2018


1003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

okay this rules

TheAkerstache
May 26th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Nemeton



I wanted to write about it more, but I realized it really didn't fit. Perfection is entirely subjective, so I felt the only real way to justify this score was to appeal subjectively. If I tried to climb that mountain that I'd be getting into objectivity, mixing subjective and objective thoughts in a review is never a good idea imo.



I'm glad you liked it, and I'm especially glad that we've hopefully converted a few people to this glorious band. It's been fantastic good sir. :D

TheAkerstache
May 26th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@lethalpaintball



Hell yeah it does! Probably my favorite album of the decade.

TheNemeton91
May 26th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

A job well done! We make a great team, mate :D

TheAkerstache
May 26th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'd certainly say so! Twas fun man, we should absolutely do it again!

TheNemeton91
May 26th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'd love to! Finding another album as conceptually and instrumentally layered to divide our efforts between would be pretty challenging lol. I suppose we could just pick an album we love and gush over it. Considering the territory we've already covered, maybe some Akercocke reviews are in order! Words That Go Unspoken deserves a 5 review, and it's a 5 for me. Renaissance is also a fucking brilliant album, and Antichrist is fantastic....



Maybe we can each tackle a different one? Idk, what do You think? Which do You have the most thoughts on?

TheAkerstache
May 27th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hmm, let's see. First off, I'm gonna be a bit busy over the coming week so doing it straight-away might not be that good an idea.



How would you feel like something really ambitious? If you wanted to we could cover Akercocke's entire discography. We could switch off albums, I could cover Rape, Choronzon, and Antichrist, and you could cover Goat, Words, and Renaissance. We could all write the reviews over like a month long period and have an Akercocke week where we release a review a day.



If that's too ambitious for you it's all good tho, so don't feel like you have to do it.

TheNemeton91
May 27th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well see, I've no lack of writer's ambition, if my previous two pretentious reviews were any indication hahah, it's just that I'm noooo where near as intimately familiar with their first two albums (especially their debut), nor as fond (sad to say). I do want to give Mendes some more spins, but their whole "SATAAAAAAAN" shtick became vastly more palatable and compelling to me with the marked strides in quality they made on their later albums. As such, anything from Choronzon onward I'm confident to cover. But I don't think it would be fair to divide the labour between old and new or whatever, as that leaves You with less to gush over hahah.



Either we both review all the albums we love most - even if that creates doubles (we'll pick different days to upload) - or I obsessively listen to Mendes and go with Your idea. I just think reviews come off best when they're written from a place of passion, so I'm not sure how that will translate. That said, the first two albums already have glowing reviews, so maybe we could both just do their later four albums, and upload them on different weeks or something?

TheNemeton91
May 27th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh, fun fact I only *just* found out the other day - Ya know the awesome closing track to Antichrist, "Epode"? Well - and I knew those vocals stood out to me - that isn't actually Jason, it's fuckin Peter Benjamin! I thought that was cool. His vocals were awesome all the way back in '07!

TheAkerstache
May 27th 2018


38 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That's fair, better to review albums we like rather than ones we don't. It's not so much your writers ambition that I'm worried about lol, it's mine. I'm starting school full-time, with work I'm gonna be pretty busy. It's not that I don't want to, I just don't want to burn out by trying to review an album a week over it.



However, I would love to do an Akercocke review of our favorites. My go-to is Antichrist, so if you wanted you could cover Words and I could take care Antichrist, it just might be two/three weeks before I could get it up.

Thalassic
May 28th 2018


3487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This seems to be getting more exposure on here.



Fantastic record. In style it's similar yet at the same time different to Akercocke. They created some of the (in a good way) ugliest riffing ever on here. If Akercocke's riffs are warped, some of the riff forms on here are downright grotesque.

TheNemeton91
May 28th 2018


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

That's a really great observation of tone - one that neither of us covered in our reviews.



Akercocke, adorned in formal British clothing, draw upon archetypal imagery and themes, be that aesthetically or lyrically; their music is violent and maniacal, yet they are adorned as refined gentlemen. As some of their older photo-shoots have displayed them, they are cultured, well groomed men playing violent, indulgent music juxtaposed with Victorian-revivalist architecture looming in the background. By contrast, Voices (including their debut album trailer, directly) portrays themselves as hooded introverts treading through suffocating, dismal locales amidst the Hostile and Brutalist architecture styles (those are real styles, You can look them up). It's all so fitting, and as You rightly point out, the riffs themselves reflect this.



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