Akercocke - Rape Of The Bastard Nazarene
Goat Of Mendes
Experimental Black/Death Metal
11 songs (35:35)
Release year: 1999
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Akercocke’s debut album is just as progressive and diverse as their later, better-known releases, yet suffers from that which would be such a strength in more recent years: the band’s playful experimentation is here left to run unchecked, resulting in some very good moments and some poor ones. Putting it simply, Rape Of The Bastard Nazarene sets out the band’s main concerns, both musical – raw, heavy Death Metal mixed with Blackened atmospherics – and lyrical – Satan, sex and big tits. Despite the album generally having a poor reputation (bad production, sloppy playing – a bit harsh and wrong, respectively) there’s plenty here to keep fans enthralled, even if when placed alongside the band’s subsequent releases it stands out as the weakest ‘cocke album.

Although at the time having two girls declaring their rejection of God as an eight-second intro might have seemed like a good idea, it still seems slightly silly now considering the varied and subtle ways that the band has preached their brand of Satanism since. Still, as an intro it works fine, the bleak heaviness of Hell crawling forth malevolently and proving that even then both Jason Mendonça and David Gray were highly talented individuals. Jason’s growl is heavy, very Glen Benton, and although his clean singing lacks that epic gutpunch of later years it’s still pretty good. Guitars are varied and skilful, but it’s Gray’s drums that are the high point here. His clatter often is hidden behind the all-encompassing murk of the guitars but you hear enough to know that whatever’s going on, it’s pretty damn good.

Even at this early stage the songs are experimental, the electronics partway through Hell an example, yet the main thrust of the assault is the downtuned blast of the Death Metal, and whilst you won’t find any Chapel Of Ghouls here, the songs have enough variations in riff and snarl to keep you hooked. What puts many off are the frequent interludes, and here it’s impossible to predict your reaction, whether you’ll find them creepy or silly. The Goat, for instance, is droned electronics, screaming women and distorted voices, much like the soundtrack for a horror film, whilst later piece Sephiroth Rising is like an evil version of Dead Can Dance sans the vocals, eastern instruments trying to create an atmosphere of dread and mostly succeeding. Even if you love these tracks, the fact remains that there are only six actual songs present on the album, and as good as half of them are, it’s not much to recommend purchasing the entire album on.

Still, those three songs are pretty good. As well as the aforementioned Hell, there’s also Marguerite & Gretchen, the seven-minute tale of a man being awoken from sleep by the sounds of two women having sex in the next room. Tacky? Sure, but Akercocke can pull off the ‘dark eroticism’ thing far better than Cradle Of Filth and the authors of those rubbish vampire sex books that the Goth kids love so much, and it’s a great song to boot, the first tastes of later Prog styles making themselves known as the song writhes and twists like the mentioned girls. It’s here that a better production would have suited the album better, as Jason’s clean vocals early in the track are slightly muffled, but the over-the-top female vocals further on work fine, and the growls are only enhanced.

The third song worth buying the album for is album closer Justine, which mixes the Prog aspects and strange noises of the other two tracks to great effect, ending on the same droning electronics that open it. Although after this there are sixty-odd tracks of silence before hidden track The Blood starts, it’s not worth bothering with, being more instrumental experimentation. It’s a pity, really, that there’s so much filler on this album, as it definitely contains the seeds of something great. That greatness would come to life on the band’s second album The Goat Of Mendes, but in terms of bang for your buck, Rape… is best left until you have listened to the other albums thoroughly.

Killing Songs :
Hell, Marguerite & Gretchen, Justine
Goat quoted 58 / 100
Other albums by Akercocke that we have reviewed:
Akercocke - Renaissance in Extremis reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Akercocke - Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Akercocke - Choronzon reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Akercocke - The Goat Of Mendes reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Akercocke - Antichrist reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
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