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A lot of bands quickly write, record, and release their debut album only for it to become a very public reminder that they should have waited before naively thinking that they can take on and defeat the world. Glasgow’s Achren have wisely taken their time in releasing EPs, demos and splits since their inception in 2003 and refining their own brand of ‘blood metal’ before releasing this, their debut, ‘The Forgotten King’.

Achren appear determined to make their mark by taking on the mighty from the outset. The opening riff of ‘Impaled’ sounds distinctly like Metallica’s ‘Frantic’, only executed how it should have been executed: big guitars, big drums (with a snare that sounds colossal), and an even bigger sound. And then, when Anderson’s animalistic growls enter, the sound gets bigger, as do the riffs and rhythms before Kirk’s lead work tears your face off for the coda. With equal might, ‘The Way Of The Twilight…Or The Aura Of Flies’ follows a similar structure, Kirk finishing the track (and the listener) off with another razor-sharp blast. ‘Bastard On The Gallows Or Bastards On The Rack’ and ‘Fuck It Hard’ bring more of the same bludgeoning brutality, the latter featuring some impressive guitar work, the riffs being developed instead of ploughed through. At just over two minutes, ‘Fury Of The Norsemen’ is an unremitting battery, hitting the listener hard before the title track slows the album down for about ninety seconds before shifting back into the by-now regular territory of relentless bruising that continues through to closer ‘Pestilence’.

Part death, part thrash, with hints of black metal thrown in, all ten tracks display Achren as masters of their craft. But in attempting to take on the giants, Achren’s ‘The Forgotten King’ sounds derivative, the band failing to wholly push past their peers. The song structures of ‘The Forgotten King’ remain largely the same throughout making them predictable, the songs themselves can be generic, amnesiac you might say; at others, however, they are almost original. Achren have hit their own ceiling and don’t yet know how to break through it. But that ceiling is pretty high and Achren have come a long way in the last eight years to produce a well-balanced debut that is tangibly vitriolic and stands tall amongst its peers. As mightily impressive as it is, what ‘The Forgotten King’ ultimately means is that their sophomore will be incredible.
Ceol Dorchas Productions
Review by Jason Guest
August 2011
1) Impaled
2) The Way of the Twilight... or the Aura of Flies
3) Bastards on the Gallows or Bastards of the Rack
4) Fuck it Hard
5) Fury of the Northmen
6) The Forgotten King
7) Darkest Day
8) Manuel's Mile
9) Wings of War
10) Pestilence
"...a well-balanced debut that is tangibly vitriolic and stands tall amongst its peers."