April 4, 2013

Filthy Music Review - 'Acolyte: Alta'

Acolyte – Alta (2013)


Review by Jude Felton

It has been said, especially if you are in England, that it is grim up north. However, I beg to differ, especially in the case of Manchester band, Acolyte. If their debut album Alta, which comes after their 2011 EP Leng, is anything to go by then their future is very bright indeed. Well, as bright as the world can be in the realms of black metal. Alta is a dark tortuous journey that will take you in many different directions; all of which combine to make a rather incredible album.

The British black metal scene, if there really is a scene, has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, with an astonishing amount of first class albums hitting the street. All have offered something new to the genre, in their own way, and now Acolyte have come along to further this growth with an album that is not your typical blast-beats and corpse paint affair.

After a short intro, which is followed by Charybdis, Alta dives straight into the 9 minute monster, Leng, which on its own takes the listener into a myriad of different musical areas. The riff-heavy opening groove is just a forerunner of what is to come, as the song moves forward. This really sets the tone for an album that, although very much black metal, implements a great deal of prog elements into the song structures. This in turn allows the songs to twist and turn, growing as you listen to them, while the whole time there is a definite underlying menace throughout.

With these blending of musical styles it would be easy for the music to become crowded, overbearing even, with so much going on. That is certainly not the case here though, as with each song being at least 5 minutes long, they are all given room to develop at their own pace; the songwriting here is quite terrific and the tunes contained never become daunting prospects.

What I did find with Alta is that it is an album that you’ll enjoy on a first listen, but it is on subsequent spins that you’ll really get to appreciate the hidden depths to it. Some albums are very much a case of what you first hear is what you get; that is not the case here at all. Towering riffs and monster grooves combined with more intimate moments, all accompanied by the rasping vocals of JT.

Acolyte’s Alta is an album that takes the bands influences, which appear to be wide and varied, and expand them in their own direction, which in turn has delivered an album that is very much their own. To say that Alta is a satisfying listening experience would be to undersell it; it’s an adventurous black metal journey that is quite simply excellent.

Mordgrimm Records have shown once again that they know good music, and Acolyte deliver that music. Grim up north? Not fucking likely.


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

Alta is released by Mordgrimm on May 6th and can be pre-ordered here.

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