Unspeakable Axe Records, 29.09.17
A foggy place under thick and leaden clouds exist. Some undefined place in the extreme metallic landscape. A kind of Xanadu, whose cultural roots are not entirely consistent with either black, death nor thrash.
Don't get me wrong. Occasvs hasn't invented a new genre. There are others like them. But even though elements can be traced back to concrete roots, the entirety doesn't smell entirely of either one or the other.
In addition, it must be allowed to claim that Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria stands out a bit.
Black/death is a hybrid that doesn't necessarily taste distinctly of either this or that, but rather as a combination or something more diffuse - somewhere in between. It's tempting to say that this is where Occasv dwell, although the duo is admittedly a bit closer to black metal, truth be told.
The band hails from Chile, something that can't be heard. Their extreme metal is varied and eclectic, with peculiar undertones of light insanity. It's in addition surrounded and infiltrated by a symphonic flair. The nine-minute intro Andante nocturno Op.7 consists of sounds of nature, violin, brass, piano and harp in a moody Fjoergyn/Dimmu/Haggard-like harmony, with clear sound unlike most of Chile's rabid underground.
The similarities to said bands stops there, however. The last two songs are slightly longer than the introductory piece, albeit not much. In between we find three songs of six minutes each, and a lightly psychedelic interlude of just two, where the fiddles weep and moan as a lost soul trapped in purgatory. Basically, the orchestral instruments gets to rest when the ordinary songs begin, but a classicistic spirit still rest as a cursed, haunting spirit over the material, thanks to the vocals.
Black, hissing snarls, rasping curses and threatening growls do admittedly flow out of hidden nooks and crannies in the troll-forest, but when vocalist Nolvz presents his Gregorian operatic expression, it gives the music an unreal and dramatic, occult and ceremonial mood. With songs that slither, twist and bend, the material becomes like a lively serpentine lair, and with ample mood and punch, Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria has become an interesting and nifty album that is easy to recommend. Rating: 4+
Two years ago, we visited the Germans in Thyrgrim on the occasion of their fifth album Dekaden. I considered the record to be very good, and looked forward to a new round of unpolished sadness and sharp, aggressive barbed wire.
The Germans can't be said to disappoint, but too high expectations can also cause a mild misfire. Vermächtnis doesn't necessarily change the recipe unnecessarily. It is once more a good album, although not entirely in the top echelon.
Vocalist Kain screams with shards of glass in his throat, and deserves cred for thrust and sharp articulation. There's nevertheless not a massive vocal range to talk about, and his painful screams can thus become a bit monotonous in the long run. The music, however, is anything but humdrum.
The guitars have a touch of minimalism. The strings feel stripped. But they are not defenceless. They are perhaps pretending to be a bit more innocent than what they really are. They convey their moods in more than adequate ways without richer fullness and punch in the soundscape. Downhearted and antagonistic moods still creates roaring depths as they're thrown back and forth as echoes in your empty and apathetic inner void.
The material is good, albeit not revolutionary. The band is versed in the art of writing gloomy satanic disgust, and presenting it with devilish pride. Vermächtnis has probably not grown as much as Dekaden, but this may just as well be due to a hectic period in my life lately, with less time for unmitigated concentration recently. That the album lasts for no less than 55 minutes doesn't make it any easier to enjoy it undisturbed in its entirety. But at least, you get a lot of melancholic aversion to revel in throughout fall's journey toward winter. Rating: 4
Watch the album trailer, and hear the song Die Heilung dieser Welt.