Sunday, 6 February 2011

A New Project

Well, it's been a while. I haven't posted in about half a year for a very simple reason - it was only ever any fun writing long diatribes about terrible albums, and I quickly came to find that I couldn't really keep that up without just repeating myself (notice that almost all the negatively reviewed albums were from -core bands). However, this evening I've just come up with a new project to use this blog for.

I don't listen to albums anymore. I don't have the time or the commitment. An 80 GB iPod and - at time of writing - 39.6 days of music wherever I go has left me uninvested in most of my music. Wondering why this is, I looked back to the days before I had the money to buy albums in batches, or the bandwidth to download. I must have spent a good few months appreciating Vol 3. (The Subliminal Verses) or Ascendancy. I listened to those albums all the way through, sometimes over and over, and I built up a relationship with them over time. Do I do that now? Do I fuck.

So I'm imposing a challenge of myself. Each morning, I'm going to pick an Album Of The Day. I have to listen to it twice before listening to any other music. The first time, it has to play from start to finish, missing no tracks, uninterrupted. The second time, I can skip around on the album and repeat songs, but I have to listen to the whole album. After that, I can listen to other music, but I have to have listened to the album one other time before the end of the day. Finally, if at all possible, I have to write a little something about the album by the end of the week. Not a long, drawn out piece like before - though I may do one if the mood strikes me - but something which encourages me to really pay attention to the album. I may add extra rules at a later date.

So here's today's album:

Akercocke - Antichrist.

So Akercocke sound like a band that could only exist as a hypothetical - "What if Opeth were Anaal Nathrakh?" - and certainly it's a hypothetical I would probably dream up. Their latest album (Well, I say latest, this was released in 2007) shows this off with gusto. The foundation of their sound is blackened death metal, but Akercocke pepper their music liberally with elements of progressive rock, electronic music, new wave and even jazz influences. Fortunately, they know what they're doing with both death metal and non-death metal, and this experimental approach leads to some utterly brilliant sections - the opening of Axiom, the telephone-processed bit of The Promise, and the haunting outro Epoch.

However, to talk too much of these sections would be to diminish the brilliance of their extreme metal sections. David Gray's blast beats reach Origin speeds, Matt Wilcock and frontman Jason Mendonca get many opportunities to show off their considerable shredding talents and the bass and electronics section integrate themselves with style and taste. The songwriting on display here is especially praiseworthy - where introducing all these experimental elements could make an album feel scatter-shot, uncommitted and unfulfilling (See: Iwrestledabearonce) here they all compliment each other with a degree of elegance and subtlety too rarely seen in extreme metal.

Despite the aforementioned vow of chastity, I can see this album getting a few more plays in the days and weeks to come.

Right, let's see how long this can keep going.

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