I came to know of Tofu Carnage records when I luckily stumbled upon their first release, Dead to a Dying World. So when we were offered a copy of their newest album, Akkolyte's Clues in the Chaospile, I quickly snapped it up, expecting some more crusty doom-laden metal. What I got was...much more different.
Describing Akkolyte's music as "chaotic" would be an understatement; from what I can hear, the band combine elements of hardcore, punk, avant-garde and just about any- and everything else to create short, concentrated bursts of sheer craziness. Imagine listening to Igorrr with about one fifth of the sanity, and you'll get a rough picture of what Akkolyte sound like. Most of the songs clock in under three minutes, which keeps the album moving at a brisk pace; just when you think they've established an idea, they turn it on its head and throw out something else.
And don't expect the band to do you any favours, either. Most of the music is rough and abrasive, and any melodic reprieves are few and far between. Except tons of screaming, guttural sonority, atonal guitar churning, frantic drumming, and no remorse for your eardrums. Tempos switch frequently and randomly, songs start and end with minimal reference to what's going on around them, and the entire presentation remains unpredictable to the very end. There is never a dull moment on this album, to be sure.
If you can get past the exterior, you'll note that the band do have an incredible amount of ideas at their disposal. For a band writing such short music, they've somehow managed to pack in a full forty minutes without ever repeating themselves, no small feat in itself. If nothing else, any listener will concede that Akkolyte lack nothing in diversity.
However, after hacking my way through all of that, I did question whether it was really worth it or not. The music itself, though it is somewhat obfuscated by the musicianship and sheer quantity of ideas, is merely okay. Don't get me wrong; all of the feats of musicianship I've mentioned so far earn them a lot in my book, but it sounds like Akkolyte are actually seeking to mask a lack of truly new musical ideas with a novel presentation.
Or I could be reading too far into it; I highly suggest giving this album a listen, so you can be the judge of that for yourself. If you're a big fan of incredibly experimental and obtuse music, you'll definitely enjoy the cacophonous offerings of Clues in the Chaospile. But for me personally, this music really pushes the limits of what I find enjoyable. It's dense and inhospitable, and frankly, can even be repulsive. But there is some interesting experimentation at work, the musicians clearly have a deep-seated sense of musicality--you'd have to, in order to subvert it in as many ways as they do. This is not an album for the faint of heart.
6.5 / 10
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