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Miranda’s Band of the Day: Acolyte
THEY ARE: Progressive Black Metal
FROM: Manchester, UK
FOR FANS OF: Enslaved, <code>, Deathspell Omega
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Leng’ EP (2011, digital self release available free below)
CHECK OUT: Leng, Sunrise, The Ashenground
WHERE TO FIND THEM: Acolyte on FaceBook, Acolyte at BandCamp
Some months after the digital release of their debut EP “Leng”, Miranda spoke with Malek, guitarist and songwriter with Manchester’s blackened groovesters Acolyte.
How did the band come together?
I met (singer) JT at University in 2004 and we ended up living together. I had always been interested in metal but at the time I wasn’t into extreme metal. I’ve been a musician since I was quite little and so have always been open-minded towards music. After a year of living with JT, I was completely hooked on extreme metal.
In October 2008 we pulled together a line-up and started practicing. Those guys really helped us craft the first songs and tracks like Leng wouldn’t be the same without them, unfortunately this line-up just didn’t fit so late in 2009 the band changed and eventually we played our first shows in 2010. It has taken us a long time to get going but we have been able to get used to both the music and each other. We believe this has paid off.
What has influenced you and how would you describe your music?
Everything I love in music is an influence in some way but I’d say Enslaved, <code>, Virus/Ved Buens Ende, Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord.
I don’t really always feel comfortable classifying Acolyte, maybe the best way to describe it would be blackened extreme metal, but that’s not particularly descriptive. We do focus a lot on achieving a good groove within our material – in a lot of ways we are quite straight-forward, but we also love to use interesting chords and dissonance as well, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. We’ve been accused of being a “progressive black metal” band in the past – I don’t think we’re that progressive but I can see why people might say that, so I guess that’s fine!
Lyrically where do the influences come from?
Although we don’t have a concept for this first album, there are strong themes that run throughout; JT likes to write about concepts that interest him and most of the lyrics are quite personal. As with most black metal-inspired music, we have a strong anti-religious and misanthropic streak but that comes through as metaphor rather then outright statements of hatred.
As examples, ‘Leng’ is a Lovecraftian reference and refers to a frozen plateau on the edge of reality, the song itself is about loneliness and madness, and pretty much takes the form of a story focussing on a lost and lonely character. ‘Formidine’ is very personal to JT, focussing on his own fears and anxieties. In Greek mythology Charybdis is a sea monster that’s often depicted as a whirlpool and we use that as a metaphor for religion.
What can you tell us about the album you’ve been working on?
The new album is called ‘Alta’. The music was all written back in 2008 at roughly the same time as the (music for the) Leng EP. We are really pleased with the album, it has sprawling epics, lots of tonal contrast and we even have some fun too! We’re really excited about getting it out there once we’ve settled on a label. There are five new songs for the album with an epic closer called ‘Epistle’. The album clocks in at the 60 minute mark and there’s a good 40 minutes of new material.
What are your plans for next year?
We’re hoping for a small UK Tour with another fantastic British black metal band – but absolutely no details on that have been worked out as yet. We’re looking forward to getting ‘Alta’ released and can’t wait to get working on the second album, which I’ve written already!