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We like to mix things up at Desertfest every once in awhile, because as much as we love stoner and doom, sometimes we want something a little heavier; and boy have we gone heavier, as extreme metal quartet Akercocke join Desertfest 2018.

Formed in London in 1997, it’s easy to see why the band has maintained a loyal cult following. One of the few extreme metal bands to release an utterly flawless body of work, with every record – including 2016’s Renaissance In Extremis (Their first record since a four or five year hiatus) - garnering universal acclaim from scribes and fans of the genre.

Their first album Rape of the Bastard Nazarene was released on the band’s own label Goat Of Mendes, and immediately set the tone of their work. Intricate blackened death metal, with aspects of thrash and progressive metal with satanic themes and occasional outright misanthropy. Their 2001 sophomore record Goat of Mendes and third record, 2003’s Choronzon were the records that truly established their position as one of the most exciting and innovative extreme metal bands in the UK, with the latter going on to be voted Terrorizer’s number 1 record release of the year.

After 2007’s somewhat controversial Antichrist, long periods of inactivity finally lead to the group calling it a day in 2012 – but last year the band made the surprise announcement that they had reformed, with original guitarist Paul Scanlan coming back to the band. Last year saw new album Renaissance In Extremis release on Peaceville records; an incredible album, with complex progressive parts not unlike Opeth and King Crimson – and on the other hand the intense and downright miserable heavier stylings that have become synonymous with their work. It’s definitely well worth your time checking them out at this year’s festival in their hometown.

Words: Rich Harris