Voices: London

Akercocke exiles uncover the capital’s dark heart

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It’s no surprise that some of the most hallucinogenic and disorientating extreme albums have all been psychologically bound to their respective cities.

From Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation through to Axis Of Perdition and France’s Spektr, there’s a tradition of internalising the metropolis’s dense interference-running cacophony and web of dread-inducing alleyways into nightmare mental maps on the brink of outright insanity. London might be an epitome of urban metal, but it’s also one of the most unique and ambitious metal albums of recent years. A white-knuckle, part-narrated travelogue detailing one man’s psycho-sexual unravelling, it unfolds according to a fierce, if thrillingly unhinged, logic and sense of destiny that engulfs you in the moment without ever losing sight of the big picture. Considering Voices rose from the ashes of Akercocke, you’d expect to find some echoes – David Gray’s gat-gat blasts, those massive splayed riffs, the combination of imperious and atavistic vocals – but here they’ve been scrambled into new recipes of wrongness and brief sojourns of lucidity that only orientate you to the unfathomable darkness at their core. Journeying at every point from sumptuous beauty through helplessly driven, angular extremity to mind-flaying, id-erupting mania, London is a shattering of the senses, and a psychedelic thrill ride down the rabbit-hole of consciousness.

Via Candlelight

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.