English extreme metal outfit AKERCOCKE have quite the history. Amongst their multitude of records since their formation in 1997 the band have become one of the most popular bands within the extreme circle, and have pushed the boundaries with every release. Their most recent release, this year’s Renaissance In Extremis, was received to very positive acclaim, and demonstrated that the band are continuing to develop and experiment more as time goes on. On their tour with black metal outfit HECATE ENTHRONED supporting, we caught their show at Rebellion in Manchester to see how their new material works in a live format, and to see how they performed.
For a band such as AKERCOCKE, HECATE ENTHRONED is a somewhat peculiar choice as a supporting act (and the only one at that), but that didn’t stop the venue being full of people from the get-go. The Welsh black metal outfit mixed material both old and new into their set, which not only made their set more varied, but it showed how the band have developed over their career and incorporated new styles into their sound. Vocalist Joe was absolutely brilliant as he fluctuated from malevolent, low growls over Pete’s keyboard sections, and piercing high shrieks throughout the set. Guitarists Nigel and Andy worked together excellently to provide a mixture of atmospheric and melodic sections, followed by piercingly cold black metal. Their musicianship and quality as a band are really showcased in the live format, as they blend effortlessly between cold, harsh black metal, and more atmospheric and almost soothing (yet equally haunting) sections which make for an incredibly intense and captivating show. Overall, they were an excellent opener for AKERCOCKE as they warmed the crowd up brilliantly, and are a band that are equally reputable for putting on a strong performance.
Playing a whole album in full from start to finish is always a risky move, especially with a back-catalogue as diverse and extensive as AKERCOCKE. However, that’s just what the band did, and the pay-off was worth it. Disappear, the first track on the record, went down a treat as it’s combination of complex guitar sections and thrash-inspired foreground made for an exciting start to the night, with Jason Mendonça’s signature growls providing a significantly heavier element in comparison to the complex, tech-y sections that overlap. Jason Mendonça’s haunting clean vocals also made a nice variation in sound that complemented the diversity of AKERCOCKE‘s instrumental elements, which made for a captivating show all round. Drummer Paul Gray also excelled in the night’s performance, as he added to the complexity and simultaneously the ferocity of AKERCOCKE‘s performance throughout the night, especially in the frantic First To Leave The Funeral, which really demonstrated the power that AKERCOCKE give out in their performances. Vocalist and backing guitarist Jason was by far the standout performer on the stage tonight, as he performed his signature vocals which are part of what make AKERCOCKE stand out with apparent ease, while lead guitarist Paul Scanlan provided thrashing riffs and which complimented Jason’s more complex sections. While it would have been nice, and potentially more effective, to hear some of AKERCOCKE‘s most popular songs as opposed to just their new album in full and a couple of their older tracks, the band nailed their set from start to finish and displayed that they are not only capable of putting out strong material, but are excellent musicians who excel live.
Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Occult Photography here: