The New Autokrator Album Is Too Heavy for My Morning Commute

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Look, I’ve only got ten minutes in the car in the morning. I don’t want to spend all ten of those minutes breaking my neck and endangering the many young co-eds criss-crossing the beautiful UNC campus, do I?

Every morning at 5 am (or earlier), Dr. Mrs.W. and I stumble out of bed and shuffle into the dark of our home, I to the dog’s room (the space formerly known as my office), and she to the kitchen to make some coffee. You know what sounds nice at 5 am? The melodious grind of the brewer. You know what doesn’t sound nice at 5 am? The discordant grind of Autokrator’s totalitarian death metal. Autokrator’s infamously caustic production job is ratcheted up to 11 on new album Hammer of the Heretics, and it’s just way too much, y’know?

“But Dubs, hasn’t lead songwriter Loic injected more doom metal elements into Autokrator’s crushing soundscape, periodically dragging things out low and slow on Hammer of the Heretics?” Yes, dear reader, he has, and it adds a hell of a lot of depth to the martial sound he pushed on Autokrator and The Obedience to Authority, but slow doesn’t exactly mean palatable. Sure, I’m still puttering around in my slippers as I leash Roxy up for her walk down the street so she can go pee, but that doesn’t mean my soft body is ready for those slow, menacing riffs that just fill me with dread that early in the morning. I don’t need to start my day stressed out, ya dig?

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And while you may be thinking that surely I can handle Dave Bailey’s hellish growls after I’ve fortified my stomach with a hearty bowl of oatmeal, I confess that I cannot. Bailey’s nasty snarls on songs like “Le Sang Impur” are damn near nausea-inducing. You think I want to stroll into my research suite with a hastily-wiped trail of upchucked oatmeal on my fisherman sweater? Dear reader, I do not. That is why Hammer of the Heretics is too much.

And don’t even get me started on the drive itself. New drummer Kevin Paradis (Benighted, ex-Svart Crown) adds a surprising layer of intricacy to Autokrator’s previously one-dimensional percussive assault. When he starts hitting those weird fills or accents the back-beat with a little extra cymbal action after a few bars in “Inquisitio-Denunciatio-Exceptio,” I can’t help but start slapping my inept fists against the steering wheel like slices of wet ham whacking against a butcher’s block; that’s way too distracting to maintain over the brief ten minute ride. I should be keeping my hands at ten and two and checking the crosswalks for vulnerable road users rather than headbanging with wild abandon and careening between the fare-free buses that keep the university functioning. Death metal should make me feel safe and secure, not wild wild and deranged.

Autokrator, your new alum has put me and countless others in danger with your reckless heaviness. What do you say?

An actual picture of me listening to Autokrator while driving to work.

If you don’t care for the safety of your fellow road users, you can pick up Autokrator’s Hammer of the Heretics from Krucyator Productions on April 10th. Follow Autokrator on Facebook for more public endangerment.

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