England's AKERCOCKE are in a class by themselves, one of those bands that remains rooted in a death metal style without ever being limited by it. Those choosing to walk the path of the band's sinister and overtly Satanic tapestry of extremity were richly rewarded by albums like the brilliant "Choronzon", one that mixed crushing death metal with black metal moments and pieced it together with a range of progressive elements. "Words that Go Unspoken, Deed that Go Undone" sees the band moving a bit further into the progressive realm, deftly weaving in the ethereal and the gothic into an aggressive mix that is as chilling as it is deadly.
The ability to surround a pulverizing rhythm section, razor riffs, and growled aggression with cold atmospherics and quiet, almost lilting sections, as well as a wide vocal range is not what makes "Words that Go Unspoken, Deeds that Go Undone" such a harrowing musical adventure. It is how well the varied styles are so effectively woven together to make arrangements that are exciting, bewildering, and ravenously predatory. Listen to the way "Shelter from the Sand" effortlessly builds from an unnerving airiness that is rudely interrupted by vocalist/guitarist Jason Mendonca's devilish shriek to introduce a passage of full-tilt blasting death metal, which in turn gives way to a RUSH-like (seriously) progginess. In the middle of it all, Mendonca sings softly as a beautiful piano part is played. It all has its place, just like the way Mendonca moves from death gurgle to banshee scream to dark singing to spoken-word. Journeying through the darkness, you'll hear Mendonca's British-accented vocals over proggy bits and double-bass heft with death metal flourishes on "Words That Go Unspoken (Part 1)", then the dreamy, synth-laced fare that gives way to more black metal sickness on "Intractable Words (Words That Go Unspoken Part 2)". A hair-raising guitar solo on "Seraphs and Silence" will capture your attention during one session, the sweet vocals, light picking, and cold presence of "Lex Talionis" the next. And there's always plenty of raging, fast-paced death metal on tracks such as "Seduced" and "The Penance". The album as a whole is held together by a kind of iniquitous elegance that cannot be shaken once you've invested time exploring the album's depths.
Having given "Choronzon" relatively little attention upon its release (for no reason in particular), I went digging for it again after multiple ritualistic experiences with "Words that Go Unspoken, Deeds that Go Undone". I'm forever hooked. If you've not taken the plunge, then I encourage you to seek out either album.