The Antichrist Imperium Push Against Their Stylistic Confinements on New Album

On their second album, the Antichrist Imperium make an attempt to extend their progressive death/black metal sound by embracing thrash elements.

Volume II - Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan
The Antichrist Imperium

Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings

29 June 2018

The story of the Antichrist Imperium is tightly associated with one of the most prominent bands in the progressive black/death realm, Akercocke. When the great London based band decided to call it quits back in 2012, they left a gaping hole in the extreme metal landscape. But, soon enough members of Akercocke begun to collaborate and kick off new projects. First came Voices, the band led by Peter Benjamin and featured drummer David Gray. Voices focused a more blackened take on the progressive death/black mold. But they were not the only act to channel the infernal spirit of Akercocke. The next one to do so was the Antichrist Imperium, featured once more drummer David Gray, guitarist Matt Wilcock and new Akercocke addition, keyboardist/vocalist Samuel Loynes. Founded in 2010 the band unleashed its debut, self-titled album in 2015 and are now returning with their sophomore release in Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan.

The foundational elements of the Antichrist Imperium still exist in overlap with Akercocke's vision. The progressive death/black basis acts as a launching pad, where the ideas of the band are born. But they do not remain static in their infant stage. The main focus of the Antichrist Imperium is the move towards a more metallically defined black/thrash sound. The technical aptitude also points towards that end, featuring more of the frenetic energy of the '80s thrash scene rather than the brutal essence of '90s death metal. The chugging guitars are a big part of this thrash-oid attitude from the band, capable of tying the record to a steady pace. "Death Ritual" for example features this to an extreme, and within this motif, the additional flourishes, in lead parts and blast beats, truly shine. It creates a more organic continuity between the thrash influence and the black approach, as tracks like "Golgothian Hieros Gamos" reveal.

Another element that separates the Antichrist Imperium is their use of melodies. Even though the album is firmly standing on the extreme edge of the spectrum and is definitely a challenging listen, it still provides a fair number of hooks that make it more accessible. The opening track features this mentality through some of the stunning lead work, as does the final part of "Ceremonial Suicide Rites". These expansive melodies wash over the soundscapes and alter the bitterness that the progressive black/death assault arrives with.

The final ingredient within this recipe is, of course, the clean breaks that the band incorporates within the structures. That is also the attribute that most highlights the multifaceted approach that the band takes. The Antichrist Imperium can slither through the various modes naturally, switching the vocal delivery from cutthroat black metal vocals and gory death metal growls to ethereal, clean chants. The extreme rendition that comes in with "Draw Down the Moon" leads to this clean and yet eerie and trippy start of "Liturgy of the Iconoclast". It is a coalition between different realms, and it is the central part of the band's identity.

The only downside in the case of the Antichrist Imperium is the same as with Voices, in their resemblance with the sound that Akercocke established. Obviously, this is not a bad thing, and it is expected considering the shared members between the bands. And still, the Antichrist Imperium attempt to move further outside the confinements of this trademark sound, by incorporating the thrashier elements and adding a more potent dose of melody to the mix. And it makes Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan an enticing ride, but it still is not enough to make them a standalone entity.





Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump Whitehouse -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

OK Go's Emotional New Ballad, "All Together Now", Inspired by Singer's Bout with COVID-19

Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go discusses his recent bout with COVID-19, how it impacted his family, and the band's latest pop delight, "All Together Now", as part of our Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.


The Rules Don't Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.


Siren Songs' Meredith Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels Debut As a Folk Duo (album stream + interview)

Best friends and longtime musical collaborators Meredith Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels team up as Siren Songs for the uplifting folk of their eponymous LP.


Buzzcocks' 1993 Comeback 'Trade Test Transmissions' Showed Punk's Great Survivors' Consistency

PopMatters' appraisal of Buzzcocks continues with the band's proper comeback LP, Trade Test Transmissions, now reissued on Cherry Red Records' new box-set, Sell You Everything.


Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk Enlighten and Enliven with 'Ocean Bridges'

Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.


Claude McKay's 'Romance in Marseille' Is Ahead of Its Time

Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.


Christine Ott Brings the Ondes Martenot to New Heights with the Mesmerizing 'Chimères'

France's Christine Ott, known for her work as an orchestral musician and film composer, has created a unique new solo album, Chimères, that spotlights an obscure instrument.


Man Alive! Is a Continued Display of the Grimy-Yet-Refined Magnetism of King Krule

Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.


The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.


ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.


Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.