posted on 4/2009 By:
Orcustus. The name just sounds so slippery and unclean. Diseased, even. “Orcuuuuustusssss.” Like a snake was meant to say it, or maybe a diabolical wizard perched atop his throne and summoning a hunch-backed minion. Apparently Gorgoroth guitarist Infernus thought it sounded cool enough for him to co-found this project with vocalist Taipan in 2002. Now, seven years later, the band is finally putting out an LP after a couple of promising demos and EPs, and though Infernus is no longer with the band, the results sound just as good as anything Gorgoroth has done lately. In fact, this is probably my favorite non-Wolves In the Throne Room related black metal release yet on Southern Lord.
If you want to know the basic tenets of the style Orcustus plays, you might as well read the damn Wikipedia black metal article. Its pure Norwegian ugliness of the riffiest, most undomesticated sort; the perfect blend of serviceable production and musicianship with songwriting that goes right for the jugular. Guitars and bass spew forth extended segments of punk-fueled stomp and devilish strumming that never fails to command attention, and Taipan’s vocals ooze with a sickly rasp that really leads the songs to their true potential. Barbaric but skillful drumming adds even more fuel to the frenzy, and when things jump from blasting or a mid-paced passage into a ripping thrash beat, such as in the devastating “Jesus Christ Patricide,” I dare you to try and keep your neck stationary. Orcustus have the ever-desirable ability to conjure up real energy with their songs, and the distinct lack of melody is hardly even noticeable.
Normally I’d add some kind of quick disclaimer for albums like this, telling those of you who don’t eat this kind of stuff up with a spoon like I do that there’s little to differentiate this album from the legions of other raw black metal releases out there. But truth be told, I’d gladly argue that many of Orcustus’ riff-segments are deceptively innovative, and while the band isn’t afraid to pay obvious tribute to bands like older Dodheimsgard and Beherit, they also avoid binding themselves to that template. The songs here are seriously well put together, and don’t need to rely on extreme speed or forced attempts at atmosphere to make an impression.
Buy this album. Your inner-demon commands it.
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