Autokrator hails from Paris, France. The music their spawn is quite unique, not only because of the bizarre combination of drone and death metal but also because of their thick, chaotic sound.
Imagining a Sunn O))) - Napalm Death hybrid might get you somewhere in the vicinity of the music Autokrator has created. But then there's even a lot more.
The album opens with 'Act 1 - The Tenth Persecution', an intensly heavy downtuned piece of metal, reminding me of some old grindcore bands. This almost inhumane sound is present throughout the entire album. Guitar riffs, bass and vocals are covered in a thick layer of fuzz and the drums are sometimes barely audible. The latter often erupts into a chaotic array of blast beats. Yet, that's not all.
Autokrator seems to know a few things about the strange world of underground music. At the end of 'Act 2 - Exsuperator', there's a pretty neat piece of dark ambient that sounds like it comes from an experienced dark ambient producer. Somehow I get the feeling this is something natural
for this French band, suspecting a past in the scene of slow horror music. In 'Act 4 - Autokrator'
the ambient even evolves into martial industrial, reminding me of acts like Rome or Triarii. This is
an excellent addition to their sound and a welcome variation from the sheer noise we hear on most other tracks.
Of course, doom metal is never far away. In fact, 'Act 3 - The Filthy Pig of Rome' is slower than most other songs, resulting in a convincing piece of drone doom. Another genre that seems to be very present is the industrial havoc of bands like Pitch Shifter or Godflesh. The methodical and repetitive aspect of this genre adds more uniqueness to the overall atmosphere and sound. ' Act 7 - Imperial Whore' combines both genres into one stunning piece of work which is quite sick. This actually has little to do with metal, this is power violence in a metal outfit.
The chaotic noise which Autokrator has created is indeed very unique and quite gutsy. There is a very thin line to cross before it all turns into uncontrollable musical rubble and I can understand that some people might frown upon this and gently put it aside. The music has the same intensity and the same pushy nature as power electronics and harsh noise. In that aspect I can imagine this being awesome on stage and I'd really like to witness that one day.
So I don't know about you, but I like this album. Yet, I basically like anything that deviates from the rest, especially daring crossover styles. I have no idea who I can recommend this album to.
Drone doom fans might find it too fast, grindcore fans might find this too slow, metalheads might find it too weird and dark ambient fans might just hate the guttural vocals (although the samples are cool). So I'll just recommend it to anyone who wants something new and out-of-the-box once in a while. This is sick stuff and a welcome variation on any shelf.