Monday 22 April 2013

Acolyte - Alta (Kin Hell Fest 2 countdown)

Leeds extreme metal festival 'Kin Hell Fest begins this Friday. Now in it's 2nd instalment,. this killer three-day festival will feature some of the UK's best up-and-coming extreme metal bands and guests from abroad. It will culminate in headline sets from Manchester black metallers Winterfylleth, Dutch grind masters Rompeprop and Glasgow deathsters Man Must Die. In anticipation for the weekend, which I'll be attending, I thought I'd wet your appetites with three reviews from bands that will be performing across the festival.

I'm starting with Manchester extreme metallers Acolyte and their debut album Alta, which is due to be released through Mordgrimm Records on May 6th. They formed in 2008 and their only other recorded output up to now is a live demo from 2010. It was enough though to attract them attention and now they are planning to assault the UK a stage at a time.


1. Alta (Intro)
2. Charybdis
3. Leng
4. The Nameless Expanse
5. Sunrise
6. Formidine
7. Vultures
8. The Ashenground
9. Epistle

As you may have noticed, Manchester is currently breeding new bands like rats at the moment. So many people are making noise that channels the fury and gloom that currently punctuates our land and Acolyte are another band to add to that list. Mid-paced death metal is the order of the day here, but with a majestic element too it. Slightly ambient in terms of guitar textures, this is more thinking-mans death. Add to that the rasping growls of vocalist JT, the intricate bass lines and thoughtful drumming and you've got yourself a sound that is genuinely enthralling.  After the intro Alta, Charybdis sets out Acolyte's stall early and with the modern flourishes they weave into their sound, they prove they are adaptable. I'm a big fan of extreme music that doesn't sound extreme or has decent melody and ambience to it, which Acolyte manage to achieve with Alta. Leng features some great examples of those types of textures. It also features some great angular riffs, which should off more than just death metal influences, within Acolytes song-writing.

The production of Alta stands out for me too. The more introspective, clean guitar parts in the middle of Leng sound spot-on. They're kind of jazzy and sound completely in keeping with the rest of the album, as does the understated solo that follows. Acolyte don't over play or complicate things, which is to their advantage. The songs are more expansive too, almost progressive but without being overly artsy. The majority weigh in at 5-6 minutes, with the exceptions being Leng and Epistle, which are longer. To be fair, Acolyte's song writing stops the song lengths from being out of place, especially when you consider the genre that they are playing within. The opening riffs of Formidine seems to take them further away from their black/death metal sound, only for those low growls to remind you what you're actually listening too. It certainly helps to stop Acolyte from being pigeonholed into one specific genre. I personally love the more jazzy flourishes, as it's something you don't hear all too often. Songs like Vultures and The Ashenground sound more menacing thanks to some great metallic riffing. As Alta comes to it's conclusion with Epistle, it's been a hell of a journey and a pleasant one at that.

It's not often you hear am extreme metal bands that is actually really listenable, in the music sense. Both band and production work really well and you don't find yourself reaching for the skip button. Can't wait to see these guys on Friday!

You can pre-order Alta from Mordgrimm here
There's also a track streaming on the page too.

Acolyte play Kin Hell Fest on Friday the 26th of April.

Kin Hell Fest -

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