Satan's favourite gentlemen returned with "Choronzon" in 2003 and with all the hype surrounding it - it was in pole position of Terrorizer magazines critics poll after all - you had to wonder whether the Satanists in suits had bettered their last magnificent effort, "The Goat Of Mendes". Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no.
Instead of starting the album with an introduction, then a song, “Choronzon” starts with an almost 2 minute sample clip. For me, that ruins the song because by the time "Praise The Name Of Satan" actually starts the listener may have already lost interest and that’s a shame because "Praise..." is a decent enough song. If they wanted the sample at the start, fine, but had they of made it a introduction track, many more people would pay attention to the song. The next song "Prince Of The North" doesn't improve things. Instead of having another song to keep the listeners interest from the previous song, AKERCOCKE have a put a very random electronic track. Big mistake! By this point, my interest had waned completely and it ruins the rest of album. "Leviathan" is probably the mainstream song AKERCOCKE have done. Jason Mendonca's clean vocals make the majority of this song sound like an early 80s traditional Metal song, until the middle of the song comes in, which is very Black Metal. But it doesn't flow well. The song sounds very confused and disjointed as the two styles don't combine well and as a result the album suffers another set back.
"Enraptured By Evil" is the best song on the album. A blast of grim Black Metal is just what “Choronzon” needed as an injection of adrenaline after a pretty lethargic start (for these guys anyway!). Here, all the elements that made AKERCOCKE great on their previous two albums are in evidence. Inhuman drums, the mixture of vocal styles, great guitar work, satanic lyrics and weird keyboard parts all combine to give this album its first true lease of life. But, just like with "Prince Of The North", "Choronzon", another stupid instrumental, ruins the momentum created by "Enraptured..." The next song, "Valley Of The Crucified" starts off slow and builds up nicely, but never really gets going. Its sounds as though it potential to be a great song, but it lacks that certain something to take it there. "Bathykolpian Avatar" starts off superbly and is one of the few great songs on this album. Like "Enraptured..." this song has the hallmarks of an extreme classic and David Gray really excels himself with his drumming here. But and you guessed it, another pointless instrumental destroys the mood again. The last four songs are utterly forgettable. "Scapegoat", "Son Of The Morning", "Becoming The Adversary" and "Goddess Flesh" just don't grab me the way Black Metal or Death Metal should. They should be in your face, forcing you to listen, but to me, these songs just seem like background noise with nothing special, especially "Goddess Flesh" which is another electronic instrumental.
Overall, "Choronzon" has its moments, most notably the breathtaking "Enraptured By Evil" and the stunning "Bathykolpian Avatar", but the album is ruined by all those ridiculous instrumentals, 4 in all. This isn't an awful album, but there are far too many moments where "Choronzon" fails to make me want to listen, like their previous album did. If you are a fan of random keyboard noises that are horrendously out of place, then you might enjoy this album more than I did. If not, you be better off just downloading "Enraptured By Evil" and "Bathykolpian Avatar". (Online August 9, 2006)