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Akercocke: Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone

Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone is British extreme metallers Akercocke's most realized and diverse release to date. No longer the typical black metal meets death metal act, for their new release they've hooked up with noted producer Neil Kernon and released an impressive piece of work without compromising heaviness or aggression. Former guitarist of The Berzerker, Matty Wilcock, also has a finger in the direction and overall scope of the album, often rendering it atmospheric yet still heavy at the same time. Jason Mendonca on second guitar and lead vocals also shows significant improvement compared to earlier Akercocke releases, utilising deep clean vocals along with his usual death growls and black shrieks.

In some ways, I had to think of the musical route Extol have followed, always harnessing their sound and trying to bring in new elements. As with their last release, with plenty of clean vocals and acoustic guitars in the mix, Akercocke may also alienate some of their older fanbase, but they'll definitely be finding new listeners as well. This album is easily their most versatile and "out there" release; at one point there are hammering death metal riffs and insane speed-drums, while at others the band will navigate dramatic acoustic arpeggios through bizarre landscapes along with electronic sounds underlying the textural guitar harmonies. Though not similar to any particular band, comparisons to Nile could be drawn on "Dying in the Sun", a short intro laced with Middle Eastern melodies, a prayer heard distantly in the background, and some hungry wolves angrily howling or wailing over their prey (Ulver's Bergtatt anyone?), and some weird Arabic instrumentation. The intro then segues into the two-part title track, with the first part surprisingly kicking in with clean vocals and acoustic guitars, something a bit uncommon for such bands. You'd expect them to explode like a dynamite, as so many other bands seem to do. However, this song grows and becomes larger with each passing minute. Slowly, the song begins to gather all its elements and hits atmospheric heights with the arrival of a cool Egyptian-themed guitar solo, death metal growls, and amazing keyboard work. Part two is equally surprising. Again, it has clean vocals and grim acoustic guitars with a very dry sound that almost sucks you in. However, this time electronic elements and a sick bass pattern are detected before they cut out abruptly and leave the listener face-to-face with Mendonca's strange but powerful mix of black and death metal extremity.

The highlight of the disc is the 10-minute track "Shelter from the Sand". Perhaps the best song to represent Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone, the band is unafraid to jump genres in the blink of an eye, as touches of Godflesh industrial effects and slower spoken parts saturate its intro eventually giving way to a nice brutal and clean vocal variation. Manic-filled laughters pop up briefly in the middle with great Voivod-type guitar work that is simply masterful. Ominous keyboards and drums enter the scene as the other instruments take a back seat, and then a brilliant piano section follows with ethereal clean vocals. I know all of this sounds un-metal, but people's opinions are bound to change the second they hear the track. The song is sealed with a symphonic touch and electronic sound bit together with the band's usual guitar and vocal combination. The last two tracks prove to enhance the scope of the disc, with interesting avant garde meets jazz solos and folk-laden vocals over acoustic guitars. However, both songs are marked by staggering screams and grunts that any extreme metal fan is going to enjoy. If you've never heard any Akercocke before, start right with this disc. Not only is their best produced one, but musically it encompasses elements from all of their earlier releases enriched with new sounds along the way.

Track Listing

  1. Verdelet
  2. Seduced
  3. Shelter from the Sand
  4. Eyes of the Dawn
  5. Dying in the Sun
  6. Words That Go Unspoken Part 1
  7. Intractable (Words That Go Unspoken Part 2)
  8. Seraphs and Silence
  9. The Penance
  10. Lex Talionis

Added: March 7th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Akercocke website
Hits: 7324
Language: english

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Akercocke: Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-07 17:38:41
My Score:

I'll be honest, I've never heard a lick of Akercocke's music till this latest release Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone. Well, that's about to change very quickly. The British extreme metal act have come up with one of the most intriguing albums I have heard here in the early part of 2006. This is no mere death or black metal album though, and while there are plenty of moments that combine both of those sub-genres, Akercocke also throw in a fair amount of technical progressive metal as well as the acoustic & symphonic nature of 70's styled prog-rock. It's one of those albums that keeps you guessing what the band will throw at you next. One minute they are hitting you with the pummeling "Seduced", a raging slab of technical death metal with Nile and Opeth styled grunts and growls, the next they are mixing the guitar and keyboard textures of vintage Rush with Dimmu Borgir or Enslaved styled symphonic black metal, as they do on the mini-epic "Shelter From the Sand". Vocals alternate between deep grunts, raging growls, black metal shrieks, and melodic clean passages, and the band does a great job of offering plenty of these styles and really mixing it up well.

Check out the melodic title track, a fun slice of progressive metal, with soaring clean vocals, intricate guitar work, and gymnastic drum work, or the haunting "Intractable", an atmospheric and moody piece that reminded me a little of Extol and even Opeth. Crushing and brutal death metal takes over on "Seraphs and Silence" and "The Penance", but don't blink on the latter or you'll miss an amazing yet quick jazz-fusion guitar interplay about midway through.

There's just so much to cover with this release that sometimes words don't do it justice. Akercocke are like no other band, and it will take a few listens to fully appreciate what is going on here, but once you do expect to go back again and again. An astounding release!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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