AUTOKRATOR “Persecution”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The original Christians had it really tough back when they were an underground cult and not the dominant world religion. A series of Roman emperors made life hell for them in those ancient days. French death metal crushers AUTOKRATOR have made that the subject of “Persecution” and they lean into the concept with glee. This is monolithic, oppressive death-doom that one could easily imagine Nero and his buddies blasting over the PA at the Colosseum while lions were dining on the Christians. That is, if the Romans had PA systems and death metal…

This is very much in the style of PORTAL, PHRENELITH, TOMB MOLD and other cavernous death metal bands. The tone is absolutely massive and deep, the pace is generally medium to slow and the vocals are the kind of wind tunnel roar one would expect. One thing that does kind of set AUTOKRATOR apart is that there is a marching, almost militant tone to their music. This is heard nowhere better than “Caesar Nerva Trajanus”, which can best be described as death metal marching music for a legion of cursed Roman zombie warriors. Simple, primal and it throbs in your brain with a pulsating doom. But this style also shows up in other tracks here, which range from a brief 3 minutes 19 seconds to the almost 10 minute “Antechristus”. There’s also a ton of squealing feedback, Latin lyrics and brutal drum barrages.

The one big misstep is “Apocalypsis”, which is a boring monologue in Latin over a dull synth-fueled march. A real waste of space. Overlooking that, “Persecution” is a fitting soundtrack to the scourging of Christian renegades.