Wednesday, September 6, 2017

review: Occasvs

[review by MMB]
Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria
Unspeakable Axe Records
release: 29 September 2017
You have to hand it to these Chileans. They start the album oblivious to all the expectations that anyone might have. Get a load of these bad boys: they start with an almost-nine-minute classical track. Boom! Almost nine minutes, the whole time is nothing but dramatic, quiet classical music. This is the door that they chose for you to enter their realm. Why? Might they be trying to separate the wheat from the chaff? How does some nine minutes of classical music make you feel?
After that period of mental preparation, the black metal begins. Occasvs is occult black metal, often functioning at blasting speeds for an out-and-out intensity, but that's not the only thing that they do. The vocals are extreme metal, but they also have tenor-like dark operatic singing. I say tenor-like because I do not know the exact range or technical name that would used for this voice, since I don't have the competence to talk intelligently about opera vocals. The music can quiet down a bit in places for contrast. There is some melody in this music. The main objective, however, is to keep the darkness and black metal.
Occasvs communicates its vibe very well. The music is tight and focused, like during the times of speed. They sound very experienced and adept at their art. It is impressive how the various layers to the music and how they add other elements and still keep it black metal.
Here's the verdict. The Chileans seek to execute occult black metal with the framework of darkness and it works. It's a tremendous album with the vision and values that you want in black metal, while doing enough things that are different or contrasting to catch your attention. They have ritualistic aspects to them, they are incorporating some unexpected frictions here and there, but they have a great understanding of what works with black metal. This is not an experimental or noise band; they have songs that you will recognize. The male voice singing definitely is something that works in this context; it's a different type of singing than what people are used to in metal. They also have that long introduction to the album, and they have a two-minute non-song track of a ritualistic and horror-themed nature. Sure, the transitions between all of these contrasts is bound to cause problems for some people who want something more linear. Some will criticize the band for not staying on-point 100% of the time, and to be fair, some of those criticisms are not totally inaccurate.
Metal Archives shows that this is the band's first album, actually, but it also shows a recording from 2005, so there’s clearly a history there and a story to be told.
What are we in for with future albums? Will the ritualistic metal go more in a sideways directions and get more experimental? We'll cross that bridge when we get there. In the meantime, this is Occasvs in 2017. There is an abundance of black metal music to investigate here, with a few twists.

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