AUTOKRATOR - PERSECUTION
PITILESS FRENCH NOIR BRUTALISM
Of all the romantic and cultural word associations with the great European city of Paris, apocalyptic blackened noise metal is not a first choice. Autokrator’s Persecution is, mercifully, a mere 35 minutes long but it doesn’t feel brief. Even diehard metal brutalists - or indeed anyone - will need to be in a particular psychological zone to fully digest Autokrator’s ceaseless pneumatic battery. Persecution is so steadfastly blistering its mechanized density is almost devoid of light or relief. The record is, instead, wholly a paean to relentless brutality with remorseless machine gun percussion and walls of sandblasting, dystopian noise. At times the downturned murky guitars are almost sludgy sounding like a machinated Cannibal Corpse driven by a partly militaristic drum sound and atmosphere. The hoarse death metal vocals, meanwhile, are in the lowest possible register for a human being and are appropriately utterly unintelligible.
Some parts of Autokrator’s din are so excoriating that it walks the tightrope between noise and music, so dissonant and uncompromising is it. Take opener De Gloria Martyrum Et Confessorum and its six minutes of punishment or the slower clunking torture of The Great Persecution for overdoses devastating bleakness.
The martial patterns and regimented rhythms coupled with a sepulchral production sound of foreboding dread evoke the record’s concept which is based on the merciless and bloody persecution of Christians by the authoritarian Roman Empire. Marching triumphant chants over DCLXVI, the strident tramping in the nine minute Antechristus or the grimly simple military drum pattern and insuperable parade chant of Caesar Nerva Traianus create an overwhelming aesthetic of oppression.
Persecution is unfathomably heavy, murky, tyrannical and without reprieve. It is a short immersion into an unsurvivable, fatalistic void. That is not to say Autokrator’s music is unlistenable but it is challenging. The raison d’être is based on blackened gravity and shock and awe – as well as an engulfing atmosphere – rather than technicality or theatrics. It is this sheer tonnage and heft that puts this at the more extreme end of drone death. Enter at own risk.