Voices – New Skin To Dance InTuesday, 13th August 2013
Devoid of social media fireworks or schoolyard smack-talking, the 2012 demise of United Kingdom extreme metal titans Akercocke left behind a relatively good-looking…and well-dressed corpse. Their unintentional 2007 Antichrist swansong was the signal of a band still cresting and finding that ultra-appealing blend of brutality-infected death metal and avant-garde dalliances of mystical (and carnal) nature. Thusly, it was extreme metal for the cerebrally-inclined, a lot like the freshly-formed Voices, who feature ¾’s of Akerocke’s final lineup.
“The main thing I feel, as with the other former members is that we wanting to carry the flame,” says guitarist Peter Benjamin when asked about his feelings on Akercocke’s breakup. “Just continue to create. We didn’t feel at any point that our journey was complete. Which is one of the many reason why Voices now exists. There was no real breakup really, things seemed to have burnt out over a long period of time and the outcome seems to be that the Akercocke is no longer active. We are all friends and get together sometimes to worship the Goatlord.”
Naturally, the cat calls for a reunion or a continuation of sorts comes with the territory when forming a new band. Thankfully, the band’s From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain debut instantly creates its own identity through the reliance of drummer David Gray’s patented blast-beat technique (“We wholly embrace the blast. It is a fundamental weapon we use” – Benjamin), as well as crisp, elongated melodies, and a black metal punch that is both predominant and engaging.
“Perhaps it’s fair to say that our first album will at least take the edge off the Akercocke craving,” notes Benjamin. “Of course there are hyper blasts, weird cross-influenced styles and horrific dissonance. All of which appear in Akercocke’s music. There is no getting away from sounding, in part, like Akercocke as the majority of the band playing in Akercocke. However, we are producing some entirely different music. Territory that Akercocke didn’t reside in so much.
“This is particularly true of all our latest material for the next album which is largely written. For the most part, it’s nothing like Akercocke sonically, but in terms of attitude and the unhinged insanity of four maniacs in a room. That’s always going to be the same! But we are only interested in unexplored territory with an unknown destination in mind. It’s all about the new journeys and creative experimentalism.”
Considering their previous outfit formed in 1997, right before the dawn of the Internet craze, launching a band in these unfriendly times is a task few are ready to handle. But, according to other guitarist Samuel Loynes, the music will ultimately be the separator.
“I admit I am more interested in the actual CD or Vinyl when I come to buy the music I search for, but people want to listen for free or download a record. This is out of our control but what is not out of our control is to produce some of the most inventive and challenging music around in extreme metal, play uncompromising live shows and offer a brief but harrowing window into our creative realm.”
And how does on describe that “creative realm?”
“There is simply nothing obvious about Voices,” chimes in Loynes. “It is not meticulously structured music. We rely on improvisation. Hence, entirely unpredictable and never obvious. We knew that we wanted to pursue a challenging, yet diverse sound that would interest people outside of metal alongside the metal fanatics.”
Work on the follow-up to From the Human Forest…has already begun, with Benjamin and Loynes having a difficult time masking their enthusiasm for the apparent sonic growth spurt the band is about to put on display. Since Voices has already been active on the live front, creating a worthy sophomore effort doesn’t appear to post much of an issue.
“We are just finalising the music for our second album,” wraps Benjamin. “It’s coming out extremely different. I think we will have made steps towards more of an individual sound with this record. The first record was more of a ferocious relentless beast that burst out of our hearts and minds. On the second one there will be more focus. Certainly more style and emphasis on a narrative based mode of creation. As if sitting in the corner of a room and watching knowingly from the shadows…there will be blasts, but there will also be grooves and moods of a different yet unheard shade of darkness.”
“We are set to start setting up the Goat of Mendes Studios in West London, the enigmatic birth place of all five Akercocke records in order for an even more vivid depiction of our creative realm of which we hope will be captured with the sort of clarity it deserves. We are aware that every band says this, but this next Voices record, as and when it finally will surface, will be far cry from the first in every way. We hope for the better.”