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Ambitiously inclined London Death-Black Metallers AKERCOCKE, adopting their title from the character of a talking monkey in an interpretation of Faust by Robert Nye, include ex-members of SALEM ORCHID vocalist / guitarist Jason Mendonça and drummer David Gray. The latter had also figured in the short-lived CHURCH OF SATAN. AKERCOCKE have distinguished themselves from the corpsepaint crowd by performing in dapper gentlmanly attire, apparently on a mission towards "debunking the common stereotype about Satanic music and its musicians". The group first cut their cloth with a two track demo crafted on 2nd July 1998, the initial formation featuring vocalist / guitarist Jason Mendonça, guitar player Paul Scanlan, bassist Peter Theobalds, keyboard player Martin Bonsoir with David Gray on drums.

The debut album 'Rape Of The Bastard Nazarene', issued by custom imprint Goat Of Mendes in late December 1999, has been hailed as a classic of the genre although it did encounter problems with the printers who refused to manufacture the album sleeve due to its apparent depiction of a nun's anus! Although Bonsoir had exited by this stage, female backing vocals on the album came courtesy of Tracy Warwick and Nicola Kemp.

Signing to Peaceville Records and marking a return for Martin Bonsoir, the second album 'Goat Of Mendes' was delivered in April 2001. Included was a promotional video for the track 'Infernal Rites'. The opening 'Rape Of The Bastard Nazarene' was re-issued that same year, adding three bonus tracks from archive 1991 SALEM ORCHID sessions.

AKERCOCKE would spend mid 2002 working up a new Neil Kernon produced album billed as 'Choronzon', this album signed up to new label Earache Records. Live dates in 2003 saw the band supporting CEPHALIC CARNAGE and DARK FUNERAL during October and ARCH ENEMY in December. The band cut a promotional video, starring fetish model Valeria Dragova, for the track 'Leviathan' in April of 2004. The band partnered with MORTICIAN and VEHEMENCE for North American dates beginning in late September. AKERCOCKE split with guitarist Paul Scanlan in November. Former BERZERKER guitarist Master Matt Wilcock filled the vacancy in April 2005. The band now comprised Jason Mendonça, David Gray, Matty Wilcock and bassist Peter Theobalds with AS SHE SCREAMS man Daniel 'Ritz' Reeves on keyboards.

Utilising their own Goat of Mendes studios in West London, AKERCOCKE commenced recording of a new album, given a working title of 'Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone', in June. The band undertook November European shows ranked alongside BLOOD RED THRONE and MORTICIAN. Although the tour saw MORTICIAN pulling out in dramatic circumstances, as frontman Will Rahmer was arrested in Poland on 13th November under the charge robbery with a dangerous weapon, the tour continued. Members of AKERCOCKE and BLOOD RED THRONE pooled talents to cover vocals and bass duties in order for MORTICIAN to continue the dates.

AKERCOCKE played the 'Hellfest' and 'Grasspop' festivals in June 2006, these shows being announced as their last with Daniel Reeves.

As 2007 opened bassist Peter Theobalds announced his surprise departure from the band, stating "it's time to hit the highway in search of new adventures'. He would join Heavy Metal outfit BLOOD ISLAND RAIDERS. Peter Benjamin of CONCEPT was swiftly drafted to fill the vacancy. Ex-guitarist Paul Scanlan joined SKALDIC CURSE in February 2007.

AKERCOCKE teamed up with TED MAUL and CEPHALIC CARNAGE for a tour of the UK and Ireland in May. Their Belfast concert, held on 18th May, stoked controversy when it was opposed by religious groups. AKERCOCKE appeared on the television show 'Conlan Live' defending their right to perform. On 4th August the group put in a 10th Anniversary Concert at London's Underworld, recording and filming this set for future live album and DVD.

The 'Antichrist' album emerged in late May through Earache Records. Limited edition "super jewel case" versions hosted two bonus tracks, cover versions of MORBID ANGEL's 'Chapel Of Ghouls' and DEATH's 'Leprosy'. 2008 saw the return of original member Martin Bonsoir to the ranks.

Peter Benjamin joined THE ORDER OF APOLLYON in May 2009. AKERCOCKE performed at the U.K.'s Damnation Festival, taking place Saturday, 24th October at Leeds University Union.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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