Taking to shriveled heart the maxim that if something is worth doing, it’s worth taking your time and doing right, Norwegian black metal practitioners Orcustus have been working on this debut album in some form or fashion since 2002. That was when mainstay Taipan began writing newer, bleaker material after he and his former band Abattoir parted company. And though creative differences can cause fractured parties to often fade into obscurity or tinker with that delusional jazz odyssey, Taipan’s material was so fucking immediate and perilous that it caught the ears of black metal heavies like Infernus and Tormentor (Gorgoroth) and Dirge Rep (Enslaved), intriguing them to the point where they pitched in on instrumental or compositional duties. Two seven-inch EPs were all that emerged for the longest time, until finally we have this, a full-length that has been fairly clamored over. And while Orcustus doesn’t really reinvent the black metal wheel — is that really ever the intent — it does mine a rich vein of what we could colloquially call the fucking good stuff.
Taipan’s hoarse, sore-throat vocals sound like a black metal Lemmy, while the band fucking rocks (no other way to put it) the way that Darkthrone, Endstille, Gorgoroth, and Immortal rock. It’s power principle metal that throws faint warrior nods towards Slayer, power electronics, and hardcore punk. Speed metal sprints are amped up to the nth degree, white noise dissonance bursts in at the most inopportune junctures, sometimes the whole thing just collapses into a noise bludgeon like a nose breaking after being slammed into a concrete floor 37 times, but I don’t think I’m too far off when I see this underlying rock groove (give the drummer some) that boogies and fucks and fights its ass off. Keeps things good and godhead. And I love how when one guitar drops out and then comes back in it’s just a righteous roar. The songs are cryptic and mysterious, concerned with lofty matters of damnation and man’s folly, the arrangements slither and snake around the lyrics. This album sounds like when you can’t focus your eyes during a nightmare, a dark veil that just won’t lift.
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