Autokrator – S/T

There are certain people out there giving us a wealth of idiocy to criticize, and it's great because we can still seem creative.  Let it be known that anyone who references Star Wars in a review of any metal band, unless it's a metal band with a focus on Star Wars, is a complete toolbox, sans tools.  There isn't even any evidence there were once tools in the box, no small fragments of metal, no stripped wires, not even a single screw, because no screws are used in the making of a being that references Star Wars and then PORTAL within two paragraphs.  That being said, this is definitely an album that's received some hate, in spite of whatever references you fancy.  Scores are all over the place, meaning that people seem to either "get it" or, well, perhaps actually get it, without quotes.  This is understandable, of course, because metal like this is hard to fathom.  "Wait, doood, where's the riffing?"  Experimentation in this day and age usually comes off as an excuse to explain away a lack of ability, but at times it's all there, just in need of further refinement, and only the patricians will understand.

  

Autokrator came out of nowhere with this S/T, literally.  Unless they have some cassette demos distributed to friends or something of that nature, this is in actuality the only thing they've ever put forth.  And considering they've only been around about a year, and this was just released, Iron Bonehead Productions, or one of the other labels involved, either know someone in the band, or they believe in them.  We're leaning towards the latter.  Thematically what they've done here is superb, taking ideas from Ancient Rome and turning them into a Decadent, symbolic mess.  Song titles cover various figures from antiquity such as Commodus and Messalina, arranged as 'Acts' to create an almost Neo-Classical epic or drama in structure.  The lyrics are incredibly original, almost spoken-word but delivered in chaotic wails and mold-eaten roars covered in wavering effects.  When you follow along with what's being said the delivery comes off almost like an insane emperor dictating to the plebeians how to properly commit suicide, which is entirely the idea.  So, conceptually, Autokrator is spectacular in what it sets out to do, but musically does it follow suit?

 

It does, but only if you take the time to decipher what the band is doing.  Autokrator, at face value, is a pile of unorganized sound scattered about by kicking.  The drumming is incessant, the bass jacked to overdriven, and the guitars fashioned as swirling chords of death that take at least three listens to fathom.  Entirely confusing, an artistic approach that will completely turn off most metalheads in seconds.  But, when you grasp the entirety, when you take the artwork, the themes, and the lyrics, and combine all of that with the music, it makes a hell of a lot of sense, it's like seeing the Fall of Rome happening in under an hour.  Fires, decaying cement, lead poisoning, political degradation, rampant bureaucracy, the Visigoths, imagine all of that decline and put it into an album and Autokrator is exactly what you want.  It's there, but here's the thing, you have to work for it.  Autokrator, in spite of their absolutely awesome approach, are nearly unfathomable.  Taken at face-value, which is what many have done, it sounds like a complete mess, like decline in the sense of totally not cool.  In particular, the lyrics are entirely awesome, but completely inaccessible because of how they're delivered, meaning their meaning is entirely lost unless you take the time to read, which sadly most would not.  In totality, Autokrator is definitely on to something, but they're taking a huge risk.  First, by virtue of how they intended it, it really couldn't be any other way, and as it is most aren't going to understand what they're doing.  Further, this runs the risk of being a single-go release.  Seriously, how much can you delve into Ancient Rome before you run out of corrupted politicians and imperial prostitutes?  After you've selected essentially the best, only the trite remains.  So it will be interesting to see how Autokrator takes their direction further.  It's either going to expand and correct its issues to become accepted, or it's going to crumble like Rome into dust, trampled into the ground for the next big thing.

 

Autokrator Official Facebook

Written by Stanley  Stepanic

Autokrator: S/T
Inferna Profundus Records, Iron Bonehead Productions, Third Eye Temple
4.1 / 5