Monday, August 26, 2013

post-Akercocke black metal: Voices (UK)

Voices (U.K.): “From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain”
This review references the band here Voices with legendary (in my little book of heavy metal) progressive black death metallers Akercocke for several key reasons. First, David Gray (drums) and Peter Benjamin (guitars, vocals) are former members of Akercocke, and Sam Loynes (guitars) played live with Akercocke, too. Second, the sound, in my opinion, is a continuation of Akercocke music, despite the differences in style.
Basically, Akercocke music was this: blasting black metal; substantial elements of guttural, brutal classic Suffocation/Mike Smith-style death metal; and proggy, experimental moments, plus some “clean” singing. Voices shares those general affinities, with the main exception of the super guttural, brutal death metal component. Voices, then, comprises black metal with prog elements.
The shorter songs (3-4 minutes, more or less) push more towards total black metal raging extravaganzas, like “Unawareness of Human Emotion,” “Dnepropetrovsk,” “This Too Shall Pass,” and “Everything You Believe Is Wrong.” Meanwhile “Eyes Become Black,” “Sexual Isolation,” and “Endless” bring forward the prog and clean singing. At the same time, keep in mind that Voices is all about putting everything together, so it’s not a clear-cut division of styles. Voices constructs a black metal eclectic sound, while firmly maintaining the blasting black metal in place.
The band works with high-quality songwriting. Logically, if you like Akercocke, then Voices is very much meant for you. Voices is something like “high-end black metal.” It sounds professional in every way, and it is a strong showing for a debut from musicians from whom I expect high quality; a job done very well, indeed.
There is one thing here that I wish were different. Voices needs a heavier, less robotic drum sound. How would this already great album be with the sound of David Gray unleashing heavy, upfront, pounding Mike Smith-like hard-hitting drumming?

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