Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Akercocke : "RENAISSANCE IN EXTREMIS "
I remember liking these guys at one point , but also don't remember the vocals being an amateur gurgle that sounds like it's over driven because it's too close on the mic and wonder why when everything else is pristine does it sound like no one gave a shit about that part. So we are off to a rough start until the clean vocals come in. They sound like Bryan Ferry covering Katatonia. These vocals are not as graceful on the second song and come across like they are struggling to stay in key. Another problem is the endless wanking that spreads it's spunk over these songs with no real purpose. The lyrics to "Unbound by Sin" sounds like something from a motivational speaker. The guitars sounds great so someone needs to rein the guitar player in and tell him it's not all about him, but the songs. They used a producer who worked with Thin Lizzy and Yes so he had to know what was going and I guess here just collected a paycheck.
It's sad because I was looking forward to checking this out when it popped up in my in-box. The drums sound better , but the throaty almost Foghorn Leghorn vocals don't do them a lot of favors. The bass seems to be the only one totally dialed in. The vocals might have benefited from better production for sure.The frantic black metal flavor of "First to Leave the Funereal " with all it's vocals flaws somehow matters to be interesting in a Sigh like fashion. They end up returning to the more thrash like pacing that has dominated the album thus far and makes the more melodic moment have more appeal. There is a decent progressive feel to "Familiar Ghosts" the melodic intro works well before it descends into the all too frequent guitar solos and sub-par vocal styling. The black metal vocal is the best of them all and that is not just because I am more partial to that approach, it's the best executed.
They return to that darker more moody place going into "A Final Glance Back Before Departing". This song is shows potential in the first minute before they hurry into the thrash section. Beyond the wanking the Slayer influence is very apparent. It is more of a "Show No Mercy" era Slayer I am hearing. Even the clean vocals are terrible on this one. The vocals do improve at the beginning of "One Chapter Closes". I also don't remember in the past hearing them use this many clean vocals. I think we are already past the half way point of this one without anything distasteful happening to that is a profound improvement. I think this is the best song on the album, so they might have wanted to take a look here and what worked and built off of that. I could tolerate this level of wanking no problem. Don't get me wrong I want to hear that you can pull that out of your back pocket and play your instrument when called upon to do so . Balance is the key.
The first 36 seconds of "Inner Sanctum" are good. Then the need for speed overtakes them. Based on the lyrics I begin to wonder if a member of this band got sober and that is what is throwing off their chemistry and creative spark. The melodic sway of the last song, has some Faith No More moments, it's not until the four minute mark that the chaos and metal break out, The phrase "you can not not see" sounds like "You can not nazi" . I'll give this album a 7. There are some strong moments in this shift of moods for the band, though I think the vocals needed more careful review in the mixing process.