Looks like Greg Anderson has stopped washing and is hanging out in the park with a bottle of ‘Wild ‘n’ White’ and a Sunn amp on a rope, cuz Southern Lord has gone all-out raging crust with this latest batch of releases. While maybe not quite the full dog-on-a-rope of the bunch, Acephalix are certainly crustier than yer average SL bunch of doomsters and BM ghouls.
Existing at a twilight crossroads betwixt Crust and Death Metal, somewhat akin to fellow SLers Black Breath, Acephalix are pretty much a head-on collision between Skitsystem, ‘Left Hand Path’ era Entombed and fellow Swedes Grave, with the Swedes coming out on top.
Like Black Breath, we have the trappings of crust – the d-beat and the punk attitude – welded firmly to the buzzsaw guitars, guttural vocals and tremelo riffing of Swedish Death Metal, but where Acephalix differ is in their intent and in their relentlessly dark delivery. Where Black Breath don’t appear averse to rockin’ yer socks off, these boys seem like they’d prefer to set fire to you, your house and your pets, chuckling throatily all the while. As I said, dark and somewhat relentless.
From the opening bludgeon of ‘Christhole’ to the closing brutal bulldozering of ‘Interminable Night’, Acephalix show no mercy, choosing not to blast away at the listener, but rather to roll relentlessly forward like a heavily-armoured Panzer tank, crushing the listener under the weight of their brutality. In this respect, there are times that ‘Interminable Night’ is a little reminiscent of Slayer’s slow-bleeding masterpiece ‘South Of Heaven’, at least as far as tempo and feel.
As with two other recent Southern Lord releases – Drainland and Alpinist – ‘Interminable Night’ is a compilation of a number of previous releases, in the case of Acephalix, a brace of cassettes that were very well received by the underground. Being a compilation, one wouldn’t be surprised to hear disparities between the two sets of material, when placed next to one-another, but in THIS case the material is all very much cut from the same cloth and hangs together as though it were MEANT to be all of the one session.
But, for all of their buzzsaw ferocity, steamrollering pace, inhuman vocals and seething aggression, the lack of variation and lack of standout riffage really lets Acephalix down. Whilst it’s playing, ‘Interminable Night’ sounds fantastic, but afterwards you’d be hard-pressed to recall ANY memorable moments – nothing leaps out and grabs you by the throat. Occasional guitar flourishes are present, but not in any way that allows them to really catch the ear, and Slayer-esque guitar solos seem to serve very little purpose other than to just be ‘guitar solos’. Vocally, all the right moves are made, but nothing stands out. The seven tracks here present blend into one Swedish DeathCrust miasma, I’m sorry to say. There really isn’t any point in giving a track-by-track breakdown as there really is THAT little variation between ’em. Bugger.
By no means a bad band, Acephalix just feel like a band that has yet to firmly asset its identity. They have the SOUND down pat, but, well, that just isn’t ENOUGH. Come back in a year or two and we’ll see if things have improved any, because the potential IS there, it just isn’t being utilized to its utmost. For now, Black Breath has the edge on these guys, but in the future….well, only time will tell.
Label: Southern Lord
Scribed by: Paul Robertson