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Voices - From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain Review

by Matt Hensch

Voices features ex-Akercocke members and musicians who'd had at least some role in the group before the British progressive death/black metal project fell off the face of the earth. It hurts knowing Akercocke is in limbo, because those sex-based Satanists made an album called "Antichrist" back in 2007 that was my pivotal introduction into enjoying extreme music, and they quickly became (and remain) one of my favorite bands. Well, Voices is pretty much a continuation of the Akercocke sound; the similarities are irrefutable. However, there is a disturbing lack of tits and nudity on the album artwork of "From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain," and being the testosterone-fueled bro that I am, this is a huge problem. I feel betrayed.

Well, I suppose Voices can squeak by with a little credit on the musical end, though the awesome knockers are sorely missed. "From the Human Forest..." is a solid ride of depraved, maniacal death/black metal under a progressive lens, lasting for fifty-four minutes and never halting the constant attack. Comparisons to Akercocke are inevitable, because the inherited traits are too gigantic to ignore. Whereas Akercocke used a riff attack that was more straightforward and in the vein of traditional death/black metal, the riffs on "From the Human Forest..." are a lot more chaotic, disjointed, and unusual. Granted, the mixture of both genres comes out frequently, yet the guitar work is much more volatile and erratic overall. David Gray is all about the blast beat here; it's almost constant barring a few exceptions.

The vocals (Peter Benjamin's?) are raspy shrieks, nothing to get weird about. They do, however, occasionally use clean vocals that sound eerily like Jason Mendonça's seductive, shadowy expressions—Jason, one of Akercocke's main creative forces along with Gray, isn't involved with Voices, unfortunately. The songs aren't as adventurous as Akercocke's, although there are progressive elements and experimental touches fluttering about. Longer anthems like "Eyes Become Black" and "Sexual Isolation" tend to add a variety of oddities that flesh out Voices' style; the former applying female vocals which sound excellent and the latter running through a gauntlet of riffs and themes foreign to much of the remaining record. They have more worth than the blast-based quickies like "Dnepropetrovsk," usually.

On the topic of the shorter anthems, most of them sound hastily made and monotonous to be frank. Not that I scoff at fast black metal riffs and a constant storm of percussion, but they could use a little freshening. Other than that, "From a Human Forest..." is an enjoyable, decadent experience that is both within the realm of Akercocke yet mildly progressing its expected frontiers. Oh yeah, I should mention this reminds me of the ravaging onslaught of "The Goat of Mendes" mixed with a little dash of "Antichrist" and "Choronzon," if you were looking for something to compare it to (all three are Akercocke records, obviously). With that said, if you like that band I keep mentioning or extreme metal with a dash of experimentation, you might find this worthwhile.

Voices - From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain


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