Akercocke - The Goat Of Mendes
Peaceville Records
Progressive Black/Death Metal
12 songs (56:36)
Release year: 2001
Akercocke, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The second full-length from London-based gentlemen Satanists Akercocke is a considerably mixed platter. Songs vary from experimental whirlwinds of technical riffing, time changes, elephantine trumpeting and female orgasmic moans (all used to great result in Of Menstrual Blood And Semen) to more straightforward Black and Death Metal blastfests, such as Masks Of God. Sure, Akercocke's simpler tracks are on a par with lesser bands' best tunes, but it's inevitable that they will suffer in comparison with later, more progressive songs. You can't help but wish that the band had made an album full of the latter and, although their future releases would achieve that and more, The Goat Of Mendes is a solid and enjoyable listen.

Undoubtedly, the album's chief strength is the band's frontman, Jason Mendonça. He possesses a unique voice, equally capable of Grindcore growls and manic Blackened screams, although his finest hour comes when he sings clean vocals, Horns Of Baphomet showing of all these styles at their best. There are also several 'evil priest' moments, where he sounds like something from a Hammer Horror film; The Serpent, despite being a bit cheesy, actually works as intended, adding to the dark atmosphere present throughout the album.

It’s interesting, considering how few keyboards are used here. Aside from a few tracks where they are used as backing (on A Skin For Dancing In, for instance, they go wonderfully with the melodic clean vocals) synths are used mainly for intros and interlude pieces. Infernal Rites is an example of the former; background electronics setting the stage for David Gray's brilliantly technical drumming, before the song comes to life properly. As for the interludes, there are several, all of high quality, the best being the penultimate track, Initiation. Here, string arrangements and a choir are mixed, with more female moans interspersed with unnerving screams, preparing the way nicely for the album's finale: the eight minute plus Ceremony Of Nine Angles. This slowly builds to a thrilling crescendo, utilizing the only proper female singing on the album in a fist-in-the-air moment that retains its catchiness however many times you hear it until, at the track's end, Jason declares, "Thou art my master...Satan!" closing on an epic rush of adrenaline.

There are few, if any, filler tracks on the album, a huge step forward from the debut. Whilst the opening and closing songs are excellent, somewhere in the middle there’s a tiny bit of flab and if the tracklisting lost, say, Breaking Silence, it wouldn’t be a great loss. But why moan about the few weak tracks when there’s so much killer? Moments such as the lunge into flailing, rabid Black Metal on A Skin For Dancing In, backed by those weird keyboards, are amazing, and show just what Extreme Metal is capable of when given the chance to shine.

Only an idiot would deny that the band are professionals, especially since they go to the lengths of having band members play the cello, trumpet, clarinet and other instruments that could easily have been synthesized, showing the sheer dedication at work here. Few bands deserve your respect like Akercocke do, and Goat Of Mendes is a great place to start with the band’s accomplished discography. It’s amazing that they would continue to such great albums as Chorozon and Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone, especially after the bar’s set as high as this.

Killing Songs :
Of Menstrual Blood And Semen, A Skin For Dancing In, Horns Of Baphomet, Masks Of God, Infernal Rites, Ceremony Of Nine Angles
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Thomas quoted 83 / 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 - Rape Of The Bastard Nazarene reviewed by Goat and quoted 58 / 100
Akercocke - Antichrist reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
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