|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2008)|
|Origin||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Blackened death metal, progressive death metal, progressive metal|
|Labels||Goat of Mendes, Peaceville, Earache|
|Past members||Jason Mendonça
Akercocke were an English progressive blackened death metal band from London, England. They take their name from a talking monkey in Robert Nye's interpretation of the Faust legend, and were notable for their heavily Satanic and sexual lyrical content.
The band have never officially split up, but played their last live performances in 2011.
Akercocke was formed in 1997 by guitarist and sound programmer Jason Mendonca (ex-Salem Orchid and Disciples of Belial) and his best friend and co-collaborator in Salem Orchid, drummer David Gray. The band was soon completed by the addition of second guitarist Paul Scanlan (ex-Creaming Jesus) and bassist Peter Theobalds.
Rape of the Bastard Nazarene to Words That Go Unspoken (1999–2007)
Akercocke's first album, Rape of the Bastard Nazarene, was self-released by the band in 1999. The album was met with critical acclaim and was voted number 19 in Terrorizer Magazine's albums of 1999. Akercocke later signed to Peaceville Records.
Their debut release for the new company was 2001's The Goat of Mendes, which reached number 4 in Terrorizer's album of the year chart. This album further illustrated Akercocke's pioneering fusion of Death Metal, Black Metal and Electronica.
2003 saw the release of Choronzon, on Earache Records. This album was voted number 1 metal release of the year by Terrorizer, beating Iron Maiden, Darkthrone and Opeth. The band embarked on an exhaustive tour of the US to promote the album. Paul Scanlan was sacked upon their return. Despite his immense talent, the band could no longer work with Paul who seemed increasingly mired by personal troubles He was replaced by Matt Wilcock, formerly of Australian metal band The Berzerker.
Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone was released in October 2005. This album was hailed by many as their magnum opus. It was the second album to be mixed by Neil Kernon. Akercocke's recording with Kernon's production fused to become the best produced of all the bands output. To promote the album, Akercocke went on tour with Mortician and Blood Red Throne through Europe. Prior to this, they had played four shows in Britain to promote the new album, supported by fellow British death metallers Ted Maul. A music video for "Intractable" was filmed in August 2006, but was later abandoned during post-production. It was filmed in strip club in London's Soho district. A documentary film of the same name as the album was included in a Special Edition CD-DVD of the album.
Release of Antichrist and controversy
Akercocke released their fifth and final album, Antichrist, in May 2007; their last album on the Earache label, as they were only contracted to them for three albums. A music video was released for the song "Axiom", directed by Erica Herbert of HSI London, and deemed "a unique and beautiful visual outing" by Jason Mendonca.
Earache records created an online "treasure hunt" as a promotional tool for the album. The winners of the game would win access to a "secret website" where they could listen to the Antichrist album pre-release. The website was not encrypted and hosted a poorly encoded version of the album. This was subsequently leaked and went viral across the internet. Owing to the low bitrate of the encoding, the album was lambasted for poor production values long before copies were available in the shops.
Antichrist's album release was allegedly met with controversy from Christian groups, mostly notably in the United States, where a printing plant was alleged to have refused to print the album's inlay booklet because of its "Satanic materials", according to an Earache Records representative. Jason Mendonca commented that he didn't find the booklet "overtly anti-Christian", despite the title Antichrist, and that their refusal to print it was "really ugly" and "smacks of fascism to me."
The band also generated controversy in Northern Ireland when they scheduled a tour date in Belfast on 18 May 2007, and appeared on BBC1's debate show Nolan Live on 16 May 2007 to defend their right to play the gig. On that show they came under fire from Christian groups who alleged they were spreading a dangerous message to Northern Ireland's youth.
Recent activity and Breakup
The band were notably inactive/Semi-active for a long period of time following the touring cycle of 'Antichrist', rarely giving updates on band activity and performing fewer live shows.
On 4 August 2007, the band played a special 10th Anniversary Concert at the Underworld in London, which was filmed for a live CD/DVD, but this release was later cancelled due to production issues. A sixth Full-length studio album was also planned but later abandoned.
Matt Wilcock left the band in 2010, citing musical differences. He continues to play in new project The Antichrist Imperium, which also features David Gray. The last know live performances by the band were at the Chaulnes Metal Fest in France and Inferno Festival in Norway 2011. David Gray and Peter Benjamin formed the band 'Voices' in 2012, and went on to release their debut album 'From The Human Forest Create A Fuge Of Imaginary Rain' in March 2013. They released their second album 'London' in 2014. Mendonca is allegedly a recluse living in Berkshire, England with his children.
Akercocke's sound is classified as blackened death metal, which takes influence from both black metal and death metal. In early years, the band incorporated a large influence from goth rock in their sound as well (most notable in songs like "Margurite & Gretchen" or "A Skin for Dancing In"), with clean vocals, keyboards, and an all-around darker atmosphere. However, later albums showed the band shift towards a more progressive-oriented direction, while still retaining gothic, electronic and Eastern elements.
Most Recent Lineup
- Jason Mendonça – vocals, guitar (1997-2012)
- David Gray – drums (1997-2012)
- Peter Benjamin – bass guitar (2007-2012)
- Daniel Knight – guitar (2011-2012)
- Sam Loynes – keyboards (live)
- Paul Scanlan – guitar (1997–2003)
- Martin Bonsoir - keyboards (1997-2003)
- Daniel "The Ritz" Reeves – keyboards (2003–2006)
- Peter Theobalds – bass guitar (1997–2007)
- Matt Wilcock – guitar (2004–2010)
- Studio albums
- Rape of the Bastard Nazarene (1999)
- The Goat of Mendes (2001)
- Choronzon (2003)
- Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone (2005)
- Antichrist (2007)
- "Blabbermouth.net – Akercocke to Film 10-Year Anniversary Concert for Live DVD/CD". Blabbermouth.net. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Metal Hammer – News Article". metalhammer.co.uk. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Blabbermouth.net – Akercocke to Play Belfast Tonight Despite Protests". Blabbermouth.net. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Lee, Cosmo (21 February 2006). "Akercocke – Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone – Review – Stylus Magazine". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2012.