Track Premiere: Autokrator – “The Great Persecution”

Decibel is pleased to present you a new track from France’s Autokrator called “The Great Persecution,” from the band’s upcoming album Persecution. Autokrator are masters of dark, devastating brutality, blending the eerie power of black metal with the roaring flames of death metal, along with ominous tremors of doom beneath it all. Fans of Incantation, Drawn and Quartered, Profanatica, Demoncy (emphasis on Enthroned Is the Night) and Teitanblood will find much to enjoy here.

According to guitarist/bassist Loïc Fontaine, “The Great Persecution” is “a song about Diocletian’s persecution of the Christians. Diocletian drafted four edicts which led to the destruction of cult places, deprivation of some rights, arrests, tortures, and sacrifices.”

It’s definitely fitting subject matter for music that’s so crushing, as the storm of riffs, growls and blasting drums evokes every kind of terror in the listener’s imagination. The Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Rome’s Christians from 303-312 would be the most brutal and punitive against the emerging faith, which had been a growing source of tension in the empire since the first century. For a faith that thrives on the celebration and veneration of its martyrs, the four edicts certainly delivered.

Of course, there’s a bit of irony in all of this.

Having successfully reformed much of the Roman system after the chaotic Crisis of the Third Century (e.g, the bureaucracy, the tax system, the rule of four or “the tetrarchy”), much of Diocletian’s work would be undone soon after his abdication. Most notable was the Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and its establishment as the empire’s official faith in 324. Heaped on top of this was the location of Constantine’s namesake city, Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), along with several cities crucial to the establishment and codification of the church (Chalcedon, Nicaea, Antioch) — in the empire’s east, where the Great Persecution was most brutal.

So while acts of harsh authoritarianism can make a fitting canvas for future art, their intended results in actually-existing societies are inherently unstable.

Anyway, Persecution comes out on November 5 via Krucyator Productions.