Review: “Persecution” by Autokrator

After three well received albums since their inception in 2014, Autokrator has become a feared Blackened Death Metal beast of the French underground Metal scene, pushing the boundaries of the listener to the very edges of their sanity with their burnt offerings, each one cranking up the pressure on the cranium that much more than the last. As with their previous record, the duo of Loïc Fontaine (Guitars, Bass) and David Bailey (Vocals) are joined by session drummer Kevin Paradis (Benighted, Mithridatic) whose love of unrelenting blast beats is matched perfectly by the duo’s love of the unconventional, ear splitting side of extreme music…

…Lyrically “Persecution” follows a well worn path for Autokrator, continuing to lean on a history of violence as a source of fuel for the fires and as a concept this time around the persecution of Christians in the time of the ancient Roman Empire, during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius, Diocletian, Domitian and Trajan is what has been chosen. This is not however worship music and nothing has been glorified but instead the barbarity and horror of the sufferings of the victims in beheading, imprisonment or banishment is drawn on for inspiration. The result of that is a record that is a sonic trial by fire, menacing, brooding and darkly atmospheric from the very start of the skull crushing opening of “De Gloria Martyrum Et Confessorum” (from the Latin “The Glory of Martyrs and Confessors“). Bailey’s vocals are demonic and while Autokrator do not have the speed of Aborted, they have all of the skill as the knife rises, glinting in the moonlight before it comes down and the whirlwind is reaped. The longer sacrificial offerings here give rise to violent movements within each harrowing cut, the spaces between the torrential blast beats building a dark atmosphere of absolute horror, the churning riffs of “The Great Persecution” a threat of what is to come. Swirling darkness continues into “DCLXVI” which has a repeated chanted vocal giving a choral pattern to the blood and thunder of the music itself which is pure fire and ferocity and provide a stained shroud for the barbaric acts of an empire built on a lust for power and sickening wealth. How anything this dark an sinister can sustain a near ten minute cut in “Antechristus” beggars belief but the cut is an absolute bludgeoning monster from the bowels of hell itself with a plethora of savage riffage and rampaging kit work that leaves not a single witness or anyone that could be labelled a survivor in its wake. When it comes to the drum sound, Paradis deserves a lot of credit for some intriguing fills between his restless and relentless blasting and the feel he is able to provide only fuels the argument that a drum machine simply is not the same as a person. His marching patterns at the start of the Groove laden “Caesar Nerva Traianus” bring with them the sense of tribal warfare as the riffs are partially buried underneath the sounds of bedlam as blade strikes upon blade in the fields of battle before the tribal drums continue into the spoken word of “Apocalypsis“. It feels like as a record, this is the first part of a trilogy, that final incantation the prelude to the next chapter… [8/10]

Track listing

1. De Gloria Martyrum Et Confessorum
2. The Great Persecution
4. Antechristus
5. Caesar Nerva Traianus
6. Apocalypsis

Persecution” by Autokrator is out 5th November via Krucyator Productions and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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