Born from the ashes of much missed extremists Akercoke, Voices have proven a near ever present on the UK live scene in the last couple of years, yet upholding a sense of enigma and intrigue. Musically they prove all the more abrasive than most, through sheer venom, their unpredictable nature and their uncompromising boldness; a boldness that sees them take on a concept album on their second outing, and a sprawling metropolis of one at that.
London (Candlelight) follows an anti-hero like figure through the dark underground of this nation’s capital, a cold and grim tale within the dissonant and complex City, exploring his mental state, his sexual craving and his ultimate isolation. Far from being a story based on pure fantasy and whimsy, the overall setting and feel to proceedings is so organic and could easily have been a true account. Various spoken word interludes increase the almost cinematic experience as they interchange from male narrator and the news reader delivery of the female, one that paints a vivid picture of London’s dark side as often seen in the media.
Conceptually this is a mammoth prospect and it is perfectly matched sonically in both mood and diversity. Beginning with pure melancholy with the acoustic opener ‘Suicide Note’ is a surprising start which lulls you in before ‘Music For The Recently Bereaved’ quite simply erupts in a white, fist flying, rage. Like the urban jungle of its namesake, each turn proves capricious as dynamics quickly change, paces slow and quicken again in a breath as it simultaneously terrifies and hypnotizes. Vocally this shows a huge plethora of styles beyond most of their black/death metal peers, veering from both guttural and shrill growls and screeches, to an eerie, Scott Walker like croon.
The roots of the majority of this unit may have history together in Akercocke (David Gray, Sam Loynes and Peter Benjamin all previous members) but this is still a new band in some sense of infancy yet with an already formidable reputation and artistic vision. London is a tremendous feat which not only surpasses expectations, but buries them deep underground, and album that sees Voices as not only one of the UK’s but the world’s most forward thinking and captivating extreme acts, and should be seen as a benchmark release.
Huge in scope and style, but pulled off with astonishing effect.