just typing here to see where it goes A Knight Under Maria's Altar - Heresy of Horror (review) - MetalFromNL

A Knight Under Maria’s Altar – Heresy of Horror (review)

Releasedate: 17-02-2024

A Knight Under Maria’s Altar, or AKUMA for short, has released their debut album Heresy of Horror on the 17th of February during a live show. This deathcore formation, meaning they have a fluid line-up, leans heavily on the anime aesthetic. Which is why AKUMA is probably a suitable name for the band, going forward in this review. This album has been a year in the making, so let’s not linger any longer dan dive in. 


AKUMA is a deathcore/metalcore collective. The mission of founder Akuma Jin is to unite raw individual talent, to create a space where the full potential of these individuals is realized. To make that happen, AKUMA has a few core members but a lot more quest appearances on their tracks. The total headcount that worked on Heresy of Horror is according to the internet about 20. That includes members from Braces, Nephylim, Another Now and Sugar Spine. 

Heresy of Horror

The lyrics for Hersey of Horror are about the dire state the world currently is in. With titles such as A Living Mistake and Violence With Consent, we are not in for rainbows and sunshine. Instead, Heresy of Horror, even though the sparse moments of clean vocals, is one heavy wall of sound that grinds just as harshly as the lyrics. 

The album starts with a short intro track that sets the mood for the album. The use of electronic influences is heard in every track on the album, and the track transits smoothly into I’d Rather Be. What follows is half an hour filled with mainly metalcore tracks with some deathcore parts. I’ve listened to a lot of metalcore and deathcore lately since there is so much in these genres nowadays, but for some reason, AKUMA doesn’t do it for me, yet. The vocals might be part of the reason because I like the tracks that don’t feature the clean vocals a lot more. 

The clean vocals on this album might be a love-it / hate-it thing. For me personally, I don’t like them. And it’s not only the clean vocals by themselves, sometimes it’s also the placement of these vocals. For instance, in A Living Mistake, these vocals appear right at the heavy blast beat section of the track. To me, it doesn’t fit at all. 

Another reason why I might not be into this album that much is that on a lot of the tracks, it feels incoherent. Like there are too many ideas put into one track. It breaks the flow of the track and just feels a little too chaotic. 

Let’s talk about the tracks I did like on this album first. Sin Ov Pride is the first track that was released by AKUMA, and still one of my favorites. This is a good example of what AKUMA tries to do. Hard, fast, melodic, and tight AF. This track flows well and the breakdowns are as low as they can go. There are the necessary blast beats on this track, but it complements the track instead of hindering it like in A Living Mistake. 

Consciousness is a Sin is another track I did like. It’s very heavy on the death metal side of the spectrum. And even though there are still a lot of ideas in this track, it feels more coherent than some of the other tracks. The drums drive the track forward, and the synths add another layer to the darkness in this track. This might be the darkest track on the album, by the way. Of course, it ends with a heavy breakdown, and that’s the perfect end to this otherwise fast and heavy track. 

Then onto the tracks that I didn’t like. Again, it is probably just me, so please check it out yourself and make your conclusions. Violence with Consent starts on a good note with an interesting fast riff. There are some clean vocals on this track as well, but more sparsely used and that works a lot better for me. I still don’t like the vocals at around 1 minute in, but the rest of the track makes up for that. Especially the breakdowns. 

Abyss of Malevolence has an interesting ending to the track, and that heavy riff is heard at the start of this track as well. But again, with this track, it’s the middle part that’s killing it for me. It feels too incoherent. Also, the fact that the guitar follows the vocals feel maybe too poppy. And finally; the thing that makes Metalcore so interesting is the emotion in the clean vocals. All the clean vocals feel a little too flat for me, not monotonous, but maybe emotionless is the word. 

By the time we reach Unchained Harakiri, I’m not really in the mood anymore to objectively listen to the music. So while I certainly appreciate the screams in the beginning of the track, because I’m faced with again the same clean vocals, I had to really force myself to listen to the rest of the music. Again, the music is great. Clean, tight AF, heavy. Also, this track feels a lot more coherent than some of the others, and it flows a lot better because of it. 

Now Will Pass sits in the middle for me as well. There are some clean vocals on here, but because they fit the underlying music a lot better than the rest of the tracks, I’m not as bothered by it. Also, they are accompanied by heavy screams. And, it’s probably a different vocalist, who can put a bit more emotion in the delivery. As with Violence With Consent, the rest of the track more than makes up for the vocal part. Again the heavy breakdowns, the heavy screams in the beginning of the track (which DO convey a lot of emotion), and the buildup towards a circle pit are great. 

Final Thoughts

I like the idea behind A Knight Under Maria’s Altar and the fact that they had so many people working on one album is an accomplishment in itself. It might be just me, but Heresy of Horror doesn’t really for me yet. The clean vocals are a big part of that, but the chaos that comes from trying to put in too many ideas is probably another reason. The production of the album is really good, as is the skill level of the various artists who worked on this album. But to me, there is some room for improvement. My favorite track is probably Consciousness is a Sin. 

Find AKUMA on their website or in our database.


The Unspoken Heresy
I’d Rather Be
A Living Mistake
Sin Ov Pride
Consciousness is a sin
Violence with Consent
Abyss of Malevolence
Now Will Pas
Unchained Harakiri