Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis (Released August 25, 2017 – Peaceville Records)
Contorted in brilliant shapes, Akercocke continue to shirk the norm and search for disconcerting and unappealing ways to offend the senses. Crashing from OSDM to lilting emotion the legendary Brits continue to prove they can do it all and willingly cram an albums worth of musical genius into each track. Throughout the album I have difficulty identifying a repeated riff or an overdone phrase, the changes are innumerable yet not disconcerting. Where Renaissance in Extremis could have felt like a million ideas stitched together in a haphazard pattern, Akercocke have the natural ability to weave conflicting ideas into a brilliant, cohesive singularity. There were moments of true beauty and disquieting comfortlessness, mere seconds removed from one another.
Every instrument had a voice, the precision of the drums and their moments of excellence adding and subtracting when moments presented themselves, the bass was clear and definite, finding a home on each track and doing more than following the rhythm, breaking free to showcase its own powerful voice. The guitars shot from crafting rolling soundscapes to awe inspiring tech deth sweeps back to gorgeous soundscapes of individuality and wound masterful solos.
I came away from Renaissance in Extremis feeling as though not a note of it had been written down or planned, it was like a beat and rhythm had been started then allowed to weave and wind to their hearts content. A conglomeration of nonsense, bent, not painfully, just uncomfortably, Renaissance in Extremis is pure greatness.