The fatal silencing of Akercocke gives rise to new Voices.

voices

To the casual tourist London appears to be a bustling, glamourous, cosmopolitan city with landmarks to die for. Scratch the surface violently enough however and the city is revealed to be something entirely more darker, sinister and claustrophobic. It’s here, below the surface, that Voices reside.

2013’s From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain gave huge unsubtle indications of the potential of what this band may become and the quality of music they could deliver going forward.

London can be termed as a concept album. This is aimed at being a representation of the “London sound”. Despite many great bands hailing from England’s capital there has never truly been a sound similar to that of Seattle, San Francisco, Florida or even Liverpool. Voices appear to wish to change that and by doing so become the standard bearers and leaders for the previously

As great as Akercocke undoubtedly were, Voices are a more mature and retrospective band that now uses the art of storytelling and imagery, if the YouTube videos are anything to go by, to enhance the sound and feel of the band.

It’s a slow and introspective beginning with “Suicide Note”, a man’s tormented love driving him into the heart of darkness. It’s not a portent of things to come however as the next track “Music For The Recently Bereaved” flies out of the traps and barely gives opportunity to take a breath as the intense power pushes the rhythm and riffs to almost breaking point before being cut off mid-stream to be replaced by a vaguely psychotic slow interlude that creeps along with random bursts of vitriolic release.

It’s a massive plus that the album does not follow a particular style, tempo and vibe throughout as the story is laid out the musical means by which the band choose to employ. There is ebb and flow, almost in every track, which does lend itself to a commanding aural experience.

“Vicarious Lover” is probably the most straightforward, if you will, riff-driven track on the album. Whilst “Megan”, the seemingly tormented love in question, shifts and shapes throughout the six minutes it is afforded. Rabid drumbeats and distorted guitar fury come across like Anaal Nakhrath and at other times a more jagged and leaden mood is called upon, particularly in the track’s second half.

The occasional use of narration keeps us on track with the theme which is welcome.

On the whole the music is oppressive, tortured, textured and damn right angry. The band have kept was great and original about Akercocke and expanded on it to develop a new sound, a new identity and new Voices.

This will be one of the most emotionally destructive albums you will ever come across.  If you seek catharsis then move on for you will not find it here.

The Band:
Peter Benjamin (Vocals and Guitar)
Sam Loynes (Guitar, Piano and Vocals)
David Gray (Drums)
Dan Abela (Bass)

Tracklisting:
1. Suicide Note
2. Music For The Recently Berieved
3. The Actress
4. Vicarious Lover
5. Megan
6. Imaginary Sketches Of A Poisoned Man
7. The Antidote
8. Hourglass
9. The F**kTrance
10. The House Of Black Light
11. The Final Portrait Of The Artist
12. Last Train Victoria Line
13. The Ultimate Narcissist
14. Cold Harbour Lane

Donnie’s Rating: 8.5/10