Review – ACHREN : The Forgotten King

I picked this album up after seeing Achren playing one of the recent, free Nocturnal Lust shows at the Dev in Camden. The sound at the Dev is usually pretty bad–even bands I know and like tend to sound ropey there–but Achren sounded great, so I figured they must be good. They’re a well-established band from Glasgow, and they must not play London very often as otherwise I should have known about them before now.

Achren have a compelling live energy which translates well into this album, ‘The Forgotten King’, dating from 2011. They describe their style as ‘Blood Metal’, but to me it is basically black/thrash with vocal stylings common to thrash and death metal. They remind me a bit of Acral Necrosis, the excellent blackened thrash band from Wigan.

The songs on this album are generally pretty short; only a couple are over four minutes long, and the album clocks in at about half an hour. There is generally quite an upbeat/sleazy feel to many of the songs and there are some memorable hooks. Every instrument gets a chance to shine; there is a good guitar sound with some decent soloing, and some memorable bass lines. Stand out songs are the opener, ‘Impaled’, and also ‘Manuel’s Mile’, a slower number with some good melody. The last track, ‘Pestilence’, is probably the most black-metal song here and also one of the best.

The standard of writing and musicianship here is pretty high, but there are a few questionable moves, such as the spoken word section on the title track, and the odd drum solo that starts one of the songs. Also, it should be noted that people who take themsleves and their music super-seriously might be put off by the fact these guys have a sense of humour and aren’t afraid to show it. But Achren are definitely one of the better UK bands I’ve discovered this year; this album is worth checking out (though I’m used to picking up this type of release for less than the tenner this cost me), and they are also essential to see live. Hopefully they’ll return to London soon.

7/10

Check them out here: http://en-gb.facebook.com/achrenmetal

Originally published on my http://www.blog.co.uk blog on 2012-11-04

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