Bookakee – Ignominies

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Transcending Records
Released: 2018
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Philippe Langelier – Vocals,
Simon Pierre Gagnon – Guitar.
Jonathan Gagnon – Guitar,
Jonathan David – Bass,
JP Bouchard – Drums.


1. Monarch Of The Depraved
2. Ignominies
3. Bréhaigne
4. Oculus Nebula
5. Muliebria
6. Intermission 1
7. Mario Whirl
8. Refuge Insidieux
9. Intermission 2
10. Scullion
11. Celestial Decimation
12. As We Assault Empyrean
13. Noise


Blimey, this one’s a nervous Google search. “It’s a band – promise! They’re from Montréal in Québec, Canada!” Then the worry sets in about whether Google will betray you with that “Did you mean?” and search the other one… One suspects BOOKAKEE had this very thought in mind when forming, and took some sort of schadenfreude at the thought of people searching them. Nice one, chaps, you bastards.

Despite the band name sounding like some sort of light-hearted bedroom horseplay amongst friends where one pulled the short straw (and then several long ones), BOOKAKEE are quite the technical death metal band, as it happens. Sophomore release “Ignominies” is a fine example of how an album of the genre should be done: technical finesse, melodic flourishes that enrich the atmosphere and are really bloody heavy. None of this excessive technical masturbation; just immaculately-crafted metal that offers more than the brief, frantic thrusts of relentlessness.

This is despite the band’s penchant for stage get-up and props, which would suggest an erring towards the excess. Mercifully, the likes of opener “Monarch Of The Depraved” dispels that notion with a varied and full-bodied slice of tech-death. There’s melody, stop-on-a-sixpence tempo changes, pig squeals (remember them?), quirky and insane technical runs amongst a myriad of other cosmic delights, all anchored by some exemplary drumming. Even album highlight “Bréhaigne” finds time to weave in acoustic guitars, which adds an oh-so-pleasant richness to the whole affair. It’s not something many tech bands bother with, opting for ferocity over everything else, but this brief foray into the progressive spectrum is most welcome.

Throughout all the bone-crushing riffs and tempestuous drumming, there’s a sweeping sense of humour that purveys the record. Whether it’s the outlandish stage costumes the band would be using, the props or their band name is up for debate, but there’s a smile to be had when listening through “Ignominies”. This is doubled-down somewhat with the interludes “Intermission I”, “Mario Whirl” (one for you old-school gamers) and “Intermission II” – just daft and whimsical additions that’ll perk the spirits up, good and proper. Arguably, they feel a little out of place tonally, but the levity they bring cannot be ignored. It’s an enjoyable contrast to the more serious metal on display, so it can’t be knocked too much.

With a name like BOOKAKEE, casual listeners may opt to pass over them for fear that they are a novelty act. It’s safe to say that with the chops and songwriting skills displayed on “Ignominies”, they are certainly beyond that, but there’s a certain uniqueness to them. Granted, they slot right in with the whole tech-death genre without too much fuss, but they’re the ones wearing a goofy (and gory) hat. What other tech-death band out there would have the balls to write flowing songs instead of brickwalled speedfests, then sprinkle some humour over the top? Suffice to say, very few, so the band’s efforts can be applauded.

Subsequently, BOOKAKEE’s latest opus will slide right into a Friday night metal playlist with seasoned practice. No doubt, there’s faster and more technical studs out there, but the craft cannot be ignored here. “Ignominies”: best enjoyed surrounded by friends, or in the confines of your room when no one’s home, with some nice scented candles and some bloody privacy.