Akercocke

Antichrist

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Demonstrating that time has done nothing to dull their taste for controversy or proper business attire, the distinguished gentlemen of Akercocke resume their ruthless assault on organized religion with their fifth album, 2007's emphatically named Antichrist. As with all of their releases past, this one easily succeeds in backing up those radical sentiments with truly inspired and eclectic music, as fraught with engaging contradictions as their unconventional wardrobe suggests yet kept to shorter lengths when compared to some of the epic exercises of yesteryear. Even so, along with generous doses of punishing death and black metal, album standouts like "Summon the Antichrist," "The Dark Inside," and the formidable "My Apterous Angel" also feature improbable dynamic twists into groovy strummed chords and gentle (sometimes rather iffy) clean vocals. Elsewhere, Akercocke invest several non-metallic musical styles into the likes of "Axiom" (electronic and industrial elements), "Epode" (whimsical acoustic balladry), and "Distant Fires Reflect the Eyes of Satan" (classical strains and mini Indian ragas), and generally give their fans plenty of entertaining invocations of the big ol' horned dude, most notably introducing "The Promise." Just another day at the office, one might say, but that's just fine and dandy when one's as good at his job as the members of Akercocke.

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