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If Autokrator were a brand, their slogan might be “Slamming with Substance.” The French trio makes ardently anti-melodic death-doom that elevates itself above that of their peers through lyrical storytelling. Their upcoming third album Hammer of the Heretics boasts an inquisitional theme, as illustrated on the album’s closer “Inquisitio-Denunciatio-Exceptio," premiering exclusively below.

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Cascading toms intermingle with cymbals that sound more like factory machinery than musical instruments. The stifling downbeat-driven guitar chugs evoke the monotonous mass footfalls in unison of an army on parade. The militaristic nature of the guitars is given a surprising twist halfway through, when Autokrator urge the song into a march-inspired bridge. Kevin Paradis’ nimble snare drumming matches the percussive chugs, and after a few iterations, the march is reimagined as a full-on breakdown. Throughout the song, vocalist David Bailey is a gruesome beast, his sopping wet growls burbling up like noxious pitch deposits to sour a once-pristine landscape.

Guitarist, songwriter, and album producer L.F. explained to us that “Inquisitio-Denunciatio-Exceptio” is inspired by the history of his home region of Occitania, and specifically by its close ties to the Inquisition and the Knights Templar. The lyrics have been adapted from actual interrogation transcripts which L.F. discovered while conducting research in local libraries. Despite its tripartite title, the song is divided conceptually into two portions: “The Questioning” and “The Conclusion."

-- Ivan Belcic

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For more smothering death chugs, unyielding drumming, and bowel-churning vocals, pick up Hammer of the Heretics when Autokrator release it via Krucyator Productions on April 10th. Stream the album opener “Against Flesh and Blood” and pre-order the album on Bandcamp here.

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