Yeah, I’m late to the game in reviewing this, but since I just got this thing up and running cut me some freaking slack, okay? I’m catching up!
Occult-themed bands such as Ghost, The Devil’s Blood and Blood Ceremony have, over the past couple of years, grabbed the attention of the metal and rock press, to much-divided reaction in the metal scene. By evoking bands from the pre-NWOBHM metal past, these bands have continually ignited arguments over the “metal”-ness of each on just about every website devoted to the music.
New York three-piece Occultation, while being more overtly metal than any of the above, won’t likely quell any of those arguments, but their sonics and approach sets them apart from the rest of the pack. While they share the psychedelic tendencies of The Devil’s Blood and the melodic sense of Ghost, their reverb-drenched sound creates an almost oppressive atmosphere, as if you were planted in the middle of some cavernous catacomb as the hordes of Hell are conjured up before you. The driving rhythm section of bassist/vocalist MAL. and drummer/vocalist V propel the doom-laden tracks incessantly forward, while the shimmering guitar and ominous keyboards of EMM (aka Negative Plane’s N.V.) manifest in the mix like something forcing its way out from the æther.
And, importantly, rather than just indulging in retro Sabbath worship (or Jethro Tull, or Blue Öyster Cult, or Jefferson Airplane; charges you could levy with good reason against the aforementioned Blood Ceremony, Ghost and The Devil’s Blood, respectively), their brand of doom metal infuses the plodding tempos of traditional doom with the sonic aesthetics of black metal, while the shared female vocals float ghostlike over the tracks, lending them a beauty that in no way detracts from the dominating evil on display—if anything, they add to the diabolical nature of the songs themselves.
In short, it’s an album catchy enough to imprint itself on your brain, and evil enough to swallow your soul. Handle with care, if you ever want to see the daylight again.
Pick it up from Profound Lore Records, people.