Written by: Tim Nordstedt.

I found the existence of The Antichrist Imperium almost immediately after they posted a teaser on youtube and it got my interest in a curious way, why? well two out of three members is David Gray (Voices) and Matt Wilcock (Belligerent Intent, Steel Affliction) both ex-members of Akercocke and The Berzerker so it´s safe to say that they are indeed outstanding musicians.

The three songs later uploaded on their Myspace charmingly named Kill For Satan, Misotheist and Death Ritual did not really prove themselves to be as profound as the majestic material of Akercocke but if I wished for some Formel 1 speed up death metal to rape my eardrums to bits in a blasting speed and make my bollocks drop all the way this proved to be just the thing I needed.

As a couple of years turned it´s course and hardly nothing had happened I decided to check up on the band again and was pretty glad to see that they were in the works of releasing their debut album, and alot of things seems to have happened with their sound as well.

Nikki Hassan (ex-Ted Maul) who had taken care of the bass duties and the growling was suddenly out of the band and in came Sam Loyne (Voices) who currently takes control of the microphone, and on bass and harsch neanderthalvocals we have Matts former bandcomrade in The Berzerker, Sam Bean (The Senseless). And yes it certainly changed a couple of things in the musical department, to the better? well I personally would say absolutely, undoubtly and positively yes! The music have drastically got itself an extreme makeover and it draws further into the wellknown territory of Akercockes later sound and the statement that these songs are a vintage of ideas left in the rehearsal of Akercocke really doesn´t surprise me at all.

Now while I surely can appreciate some of these ideas to be a sequel of Akercocke it still doesn´t feel like a fullfledged Akercocke album, wich both has a good side and bad one. Let´s take the negative first: the sad thing is that I really wanted a new Akercocke album or a damn near clone of one, the style can´t be matched neither can Jason Mendoncas vocals, Sam doesn´t really try to copy Jason but has his own innovative style and sometimes it get´s a bit weak, almost wavy as there are bits were his voice almost dissappears in the mix, and sometimes it felt completely out of focus with the music, like in Elegy where his cleans comes up after a while of brutalism and I sat and wondered how the bloody hell did they think there, it felt a bit off to be honest.

Now on the positive side is that they are not a complete copy of Akercocke, yepp I might have confused someone now, but really if I get my hands on an album with a new band I really don´t want to hear the same formula as their previous band, how great the predecessor might be.

The Antichrist Imperium takes care of the former influences and builds the pillars of the scaffold with it but then adding their own sound to the mix, it´s alot simpler to follow the structures of TAI even though it are many things going on in the compositions and the vocal range.

It boasts between ravishing death metal and black metal that is performed fast in a more straight forward style, not all too unlike a mix between Belphegor and the bitier parts of Akercockes Antichrist and sometimes it gets into the blacker territory of The Goat of Mendes, this gets interrupted in a fitting manner with death metal churns, trashy chugs, atmospheric aucostic parts and a couple of extremely wellmanaged riffs amongst others.

One majour difference is that there is hardly any syntheizers or folk instruments on this album, if any, the only thing that really stood out is the industrial part in the song Silhouette and Flame which came to me as a minor chock, I thought my fridge was collapsing for a couple of seconds when that sound boasted through my headphones.

And then the vocals, the dominating part consists of clean vocals and I don´t mind that at all, it really gives colour to the music, Sam has a really diverse and interesting take on his singing, it was pretty hard to melt it in the first place but he is extremely talented wich was a great surprise due to the fact that I really haven´t heard him sing, he usually sticks to the guitar in Voices but yes he really can make use of his vocalcords, but I still wish to hear his voice a little more clearer and even in the mix.

Besides the clean vocals we have some great growlings, the growls are really beastly, meaty and articulate, more to the kin of Luke Kenny, Glen Benton or Francesco Paolis than Jason Mendoncas guttural, murky demonic gurgles. On top of that we have lighter highpitched screams, some raspy trash vocal like things that actually gets delivered with a melodic pattern (especially noticable in the song The Spiritual Rapist), narrations and well it´s alot to take in but it´s never getting confusing or out of hand.

To be honest the more I listen to this album the more I like it! This is definitely a band that I am going to follow, they don´t have the same cinematic feeling as Akercocke and only the English blokes suited up for the bandpicture whereas the Aussies rather felt like entering the photostudio with a casual dresscode, but they sure as hell can make some damn fine tunes and I even dare to say that this release is one of the greatest that got released this year!

If you happen to like the more progressive and a more interesting side of extreme metal, then this should go right up your ally, The Antichrist Imperiums debut is released via the English label Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings and it is available on CD and Vinyl limited to 500 ex, sadly the cassette version is already sold out and it wouldn´t surprise me if the Vinyl would dissappear in a short amount of time, luckily I already have one of those.

Released: August 7th, 2015.
Style: Progressive Black/Death Metal.
Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings