Monday 17 November 2014

Acrania - Totalitarian Dystopia

Acrania is a UK death metal band who released their debut album via Unique Leader earlier this year.   They're pretty extreme and that extremity has seen them crossover and cross-pollinate with the beatdown scene, just like Ingested and Tintagel have. They're even off out with Desolated in December on a UK tour and then in Jan 2015, they're playing alongside US bands Within The Ruins and I Declare War. Both tours include dates in Leeds, which is handy.

Acrania have been playing their brand of political death metal since 2012, when they released a split with Californian grind band Blue Waffle and a single. Their debut EP, The Beginning Of The End came out a year later and helped them catch the attention of Unique Leader. I should probably stop telling you what you already know now and get on with the review!


1. Hollow
2. Festering With Dishonesty
3. Totalitarian Dystopia
4. Servants Of Hypocrisy
5. Survival Sequence
6. A Gluttonous Abomination
7. Susceptible To Retinal Reprogrammability
8. Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negate (LDN)
9. Messiah Of Manipulation
10. Disillusion In A Discordant System

I think the last slam/death bands I feature on here were Engorgement and Dutch band Kraanium, which was quite some time ago now. Acrania are pretty heavy from the get-go. Their intro song Hollow is full of breakdowns and insanely fast double-bass, which is definitely a sign of things to come. They kick into gear with Festering With Dishonesty, which features more of that double-bass. They use dual-screams and the guitar sound is thick, with solid production. Acrania’s death metal is pretty technical and isn’t just made up of breakdowns. The title-track sees the band railing against authority and the tax system. It suddenly becomes clear why these guys are so angry and why they channel in this way. 

While the title-track seemed like a bit of a long-player at nearly five minutes, Servants Of Hypocrisy is totally the opposite. It sounds crazy and Acrania don’t take their feet of the loud pedal, meaning their momentum is carried right through the song. They show a more varied side on Survival Sequence, which features some awesome lead work and even some piano. This is the sort of thing I was hoping to hear amongst all the slams and Acrania didn’t let me down. I appreciate that it’s an instrumental song, but that doesn’t matter.

A Gluttonous Abomination is a beast of a song. It’s lengthy, so don’t expect an easy ride. The signatures changes and the transitions are done really well, which isn’t a surprise when you consider the band’s technicality. The closing two-minutes of A Gluttonous Abomination share some of the melodic grandeur from Survival Sequence and it breaks up the brutality. They ratchet the heaviness up again with Susceptible To Retinal Reprogrammability. From here on in, the song-writing and the delivery pulls no punches whatsoever. Their urgency is back to full speed and Lobotomise, Dehumanise, Negate (LDN) threatens to smash your head in.

There’s no time for breath during the final numbers of Totalitarian Dystopia. Messiah Of Manipulation features some great off-kilter sections that are sandwiched between more warp-speed drumming. The guitars retain their thickness and the whole package is intense. The juggernaut ends with Disillusion In A Discordant System. Acrania vent their anger one last time and it dawns you exactly what’s just happened. It’s not often that the true meaning of the word extreme actually comes through on a record. This is one such record that defines the term. Acrania should be proud that they’ve managed to make it so. 

Unique Leader doesn't have a bandcamp page and Totalitarian Dystopia isn't up on Acrania's page yet, but you can stream the whole album vie Youtube below:-

You can buy the album directly from Acrania's Bigcartel store here - and from Unique Leader Records here -

Acrania Facebook -
Unique Leader Records Facebook -

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