In June I came across a song named “AKTE V“, which appears on the second album (titled II) by a doom/post-metal band from Temse, Belgium, named B R I Q U E V I L L E (or Briqueville, as I’m going to type it from here on), and the song floored me (as I explained here). It appears that the album was digitally released by the band in February, but it has since been picked up by Pelagic Records, who will be releasing it in LP and CD editions on September 29.
To introduce the album to a wider audience, a video for that song “AKTE V” was premiered by DECIBEL in late August, and today we’re helping spread the word about a new video for another song off the album named “AKTE VI“.
There are only three tracks on this new album, but each one is mammoth. As you’ve probably figured out by now, the tracks are all denominated by Roman numerals, beginning with “AKTE V” and continuing through “AKTE VII” — and they begin with “V” because Briqueville’s first album in 2014 included “I” through “IV”.
That previous song, “AKTE V”, begins in a relentless effort to beat the shit out of you, ripping and pounding over and over again as it attempts to reduce the listener to a viscous pool of jelly and bone fragments. At the same time as a massive bass-and-drum tandem are engaged in this brutalizing, the band tear at your sanity in a frenzy of shrieking guitars. And then, as you lie there battered and bruised, Briqueville move into a different place — a brief spell of peace and quiet, followed by a stretch of music that will get your head moving, but twist your thoughts into strange shapes, too. And further changes still lie ahead. A freakish, physically potent, and thoroughly compelling experience.
“AKTE VI” is just as long (more than 11 minutes), but follows different strategies. The video is disturbing, depicting as it does the disturbances of an isolated soul, but it’s also a conundrum to which I have no answers that would aid in interpreting it. So I’ll just comment about the music.
Briqueville do eventually lock you in and lock you down with repeating grooves, but not before they begin putting the frighteners on you with filaments of slow, shimmering eeriness. Those grooves (which become increasingly massive) very effectively seize the head and compel movement, and while you’re bobbing along in sync with them, the band stretch their spellcasting in further directions with an array of guitar melodies — exotic, reptilian, psychedelic ones — and additional doses of wrenching, mind-wrecking, deeply perilous shimmering and shattering tones, along with chanted vocals that provide no comfort either. (There’s also a micro-moment near the end when I swear I heard the lead riff from Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung”).
This is disturbing sorcery to be sure, but resistance is futile. Briqueville know how to get control of your pulse. And they know where you try to hide your nightmares too.
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