Akolyth – Akolyth Review

I like my black metal like I like my coffee: freezing cold, mostly sugar and served in packaging that elicits headshakes ov disapproval from my more br00tal colleagues. The trve and elite alike are invited to scoff as much as they need to, but I’m perfectly content to spend my days basking in a syrupy haze of Frappuccino and Alcestcore; I know what I’m about, yo. However, what I want and what I get have been at war with each other since I was first introduced to either concept, and I can tell you right now: Akolyth’s self-titled debut is not the standard Muppet order. Blacker than a collapsed sun’s anus, and twice as heavy and half as clean, Akolyth is pvre obsidian carnage of the kvltest order, a raw black nightmare as far removed from my gaze-y gaze as possible. I’d typically reserve this sentence to pose a hypothetical question about whether or not that worked out for the best, but let’s be real: you fvckers already looked at the score.

Akolyth unceremoniously whips itself to life with “A Work of Ages,” an unrelenting whirlwind of deranged wailing and blackened madness, and from there the album never rests or else dials back its own intensity until the final moments of closer “To Become His Doorway” have passed. Even the slightly less immediately frantic, grooving core of “The Night, the Fog” maintains the possessed and malevolent momentum of a thousand madmen, thanks in no small part to the almost primitive yet devastatingly effective assaults endured by the drum kit along the way. Each track clocks in at just over 9 minutes, and yet each track flies by with deceptively breakneck fury, extending gnarled and taloned middle fingers to the notion that less might be more. A lean tracklist comprising just 4 offerings certainly plays a role in crafting the album’s illusion of immediacy, but the trvth is simple: time flies when you’re having fun, yo.

With its openly hostile atmosphere and a production so raw that you can hear it gibbering in fear, Akolyth is as uninviting as it gets, an unmasked defiance and defiling of all things placid. Akolyth might not outright decry all semblance of song structure entirely, as evidenced by the use of recurring passages throughout “The Night, the Fog,” but they certainly don’t have any use for the traditional verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus nonsense either, as evidenced by the entire fucking album the freeform ferocity of “A Work of Ages.” Furthermore, 9 minutes is still 9 minutes – Hell, it’s practically 10; these tracks might fly by for the properly assimilated, but for everyone else Akolyth represents a direct challenge to accessibility and modern attention spans. For just over a half-hour, the murky malevolence of Mayhem and the more modern, malignant mindlessness of Mylingar are merged into a murderous monster, one that preys on the weak and shits on the basic.

Akolyth may be ugly, but its hideousness is honest to the point of attaining beauty. The unpolished and unhinged delirium of the vocals is convincingly captivating, and the baleful black tone of the guitars is so infernally evocative that I suspect constant exposure to this album could lead to 2nd degree burns. Whether you’re into that sort ov thing or not, Akolyth have crafted a surprisingly engaging and incredibly believable sonic encapsulation of Hell itself, and their ability to create something as sincere and compelling as it is deceptive and inhospitable absolutely demands respect. Indeed, trve legend Roquentin himself hath deem-ed this obscure bit ov Belgian blackness to be “… as if someone unspooled Skáphe into something just a bit more compact, but simultaneously more varied.” Classic black riffs and rhythm are intertwined with contemporary dissonance and unbridled rage, resulting in the kind of carefully coordinated chaos that you just can’t help but be impressed by, regardless of how you usually take your black metal.

There’s a good chance that many of you suck will disagree, but as far as I’m concerned, Akolyth is something special. It’s as relaxing as bathing in lava and probably just about as healthy, but it’s also all so indescribably real, a ritualistic invocation of chaos worth its weight in gold for its insane sincerity alone. Listeners seeking a straightforward assemblage of organized riffs and the sounds of sanity may as well keep on keepin’ on, but those typically too trve to be bothered with that frvity Mvppet atmo bvllshit, take note: whether we’re talking about metal or caffeinated sugar-water, my taste is better than everyone’s, including yours, but just this once I’ll raise a glass to your craven tonal taste buds, in mutual celebration of the wretched glory that is Akolyth.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Amor Fati Productions
Websites: Are for the untrve
Releases Worldwide: May 29th, 2020

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