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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United Kingdom

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Acolyte biography
Hailing from Manchester, England, ACOLYTE began its existence in 2008 by co-founders MALEKH and JT. Their style of music can be described as progressive black metal in the vein of ENSLAVED with some influences derived from French acts such as BLUT AUS NORD. There is also a unique twist to their sound as well, in that strong, punchy groove elements permeate a sizable portion of their material. Heavy passages featuring raspy vocals in the vein of Norwegian black metal seamlessly veer into calm melodic moments with whispered vocals within their long compositions. In 2010, the band began performing live, and after numerous lineup changes and an EP, "Leng" unveiled in 2011, ACOLYTE currently features a tight-playing group of performers with a full length album under their belt released in May of 2013 entitled "Alta". The band members are MALEKH as the composer and rhythm guitarist, JT providing vocals and lyrics which occasionally flirt with H.P. LOVECRAFT themes, BRADY on drums, CHRIS on lead guitar and PAUL on bass.

Biography by Prog Sothoth

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ACOLYTE discography

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ACOLYTE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 5 ratings

ACOLYTE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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ACOLYTE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alta by ACOLYTE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.42 | 5 ratings

Acolyte Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Acolyte were formed in Manchester in 2008 by guitarist Malekh and JT. After working on music for a while they became a quintet, releasing their debut EP 'Leng' in 2011. It took another couple of years for them to finally release this, their debut album, 'Alta', by which time the line-up was settled with the duo joined by Paul (bass), Brady (drums) and Chris (lead guitars). Although black metal is at the heart of what they do, I have also seen them called "progressive black metal", "blackened groove metal" and "extreme prog metal" so whatever they are doing they don't fit neatly into the normal view of the scene. The reason for the confusion is that although for the most part they do indeed fit very neatly into the centre of black metal, there is more than "just" that going on.

Within their songs they shift from the guttural and abrasive to sections which are far more melodic, almost jazz-like, making one think of the late Sixties scene which is very different indeed to the rest of what is going on. Also, although they are using buzzsaw riffs, they have defined breaks and use stylistic shifts which are far more reminiscent of hard rock than of the black metal scene. Strangely, each time I start playing this album I feel it is far more basic than I remember and not as interesting or dynamic as I remembered, but as it continues to play I shift my opinion and by the end of it I am yet again a confirmed fan. JT may have the gruff and raw vocal attack favoured by many, but he is much more melodic with far clearer diction than many, which also adds to the impression that although they are a metal band, black metal is far more of a passion than it is a defining all consuming genre for them. Overall this is very interesting album indeed.

 Leng by ACOLYTE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.00 | 1 ratings

Acolyte Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

— First review of this album —
3 stars Lately I've been spending time at the unreviewed albums section of Prog Archives, looking for albums to review. I wouldn't spend my time reviewing an album that's been reviewed 100 times, and more skilfully, by my fellow reviewers. I don't think I would have anything to say that hasn't already been said. By the way, I was very happy that the unreviewed page even exists; it took some digging to find! , So, I found Acolyte's Leng, which I already owned and listened to attentively.

I'm giving the Leng EP 3 stars. I think this band has real potential, but Leng doesn't give us everything that they're capable of. Acolyte does play an interesting variety of black-metal influenced rock. The melody and groove makes this more enjoyable than other black-metal bands. The contrast between the more intense and quieter sections of their songs helps too. At first, I found Leng hard to listen to because of the sound quality, so it took me a few tries. It sounds like a lot of black metal. My favorite track is "Sunrise", because of the variation throughout the song. "Leng" is a little too long and monotonous for my tastes. I hope that the Alta album and future releases show a greater variation in sound and a greater variety in JT's singing. I am very interested to hear what Acolyte does next.

 Alta by ACOLYTE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.42 | 5 ratings

Acolyte Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band ACOLYTE was formed in 2011, and released an initial EP not long after they started out. Since then they have produced material for their debut album, and then have taken their time to wait for a suitable label to take an interest it would seem. Come 2013 and they hooked up with Mordgrimm, who released their debut album "Alta".

Acolyte is a band that but for one detail would have a fairly broad appeal. A band that quite clearly should be going places too, with their accessible variety of if not black then at least dark metal. Depending on how you define the former.

Something of a trademark feature for this band is their rich guitar sound, often crafting what I'd describe as riff tapestries. Fairly smooth in general expression, but with a gritter sound when needed. And with a seemingly constant melodic overlay that makes this feature a tasty and enticing feature. This mode of delivery is combined with more traditional dramatic, staccato riffs, and these two modes are also blended somewhere at the halfway point. Pace and intensity as well as the smooth shifts between these modes cater for the majority of variation used, with occasional shifts to a more frantic display more common in black metal and death metal bands. Further expanding their repertoire in the variety section is a strong tendency to incorporate at least one mellow intermission in their compositions, acoustic, semi-acoustic or merely toned down and mellow in expression, often with a subtle jazz-tinged flavor to one instrument motif. These interludes last between thirty and sixty seconds, with a smooth shift or transition back to one of the themes previously explored in the composition. Occasionally Acolyte will also hover around the borderline to post metal with their rich sounding guitars that does develop towards a more textured display at times.

With a skilled rhythm section supporting the events quite nicely the end result are intriguing compositions that crafts arrangements with strong melodies, some rougher sounding movements with more dramatic flair and a select few intense runs sporting bass, drums and guitars in strong competition for the most frantic delivery. This latter aspect infrequent enough to not be a limiting factor in terms of their overall possible reach I might add. The lead vocals, on the other hand, is of the kind that will leave quite a few potential fans cold.

Vocalist JT isn't a low quality vocalist, just to get that out of the way here and now. He's actually a fairly good one as far as I can tell, but his specialty of snarl-like growls or growl-like snarls, that does add a substantial black metal feel to an otherwise fairly accessible breed of metal, won't be to everybody's taste. Not brutal enough for the truly die hard black metal fans I'd suspect, and too dark and black metal sounding for dedicated fans of metal done in a more traditional manner.

Still, it's an impressive debut album Acolyte have made themselves here as far as I'm concerned. Dark, melodic and rich riff constructions and riff arrays aplenty, ample variation and impact-oriented sequences that maintains and often elevates an underlying tension quite nicely, yet with an overall smooth feeling that should attract quite a few listeners not normally into the darker varieties of metal.

If you enjoy metal that resides firmly in the darker parts of the realm yet sticks to a melodic expression Acolyte may be a band for you. Especially if you enjoy richly layered arrangements dominated by fairly smooth guitar constellations, a lead vocalist fairly close to black metal growls as a key mode of delivery and find the notion of gentle, mellow interludes in fairly long compositions to be intriguing.

Thanks to Rune2000 for the artist addition.

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