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Occulsed - Crepitation of Phlegethon Award winner

Crepitation of Phlegethon
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 September 2021, 7:03 AM

After a couple demos, Atlanta, Georgia based death metal band OCCULSED have graced the underground with their full length debut, “Crepitation of Phlegethon.” This album is absolutely raw and filthy!  I mean, this beast is just uncompromising and abrasive to a degree I haven’t heard in a hot minute.  If you’re looking for polished death metal with a pristine sound, clean vocals, and symphonic passages then move along.  OCCUSLED don’t have that time for anything other than prime time slaughtering.

I’m actually somewhat surprised by this album, in a good way of course.  Their name, art work, titles….when this was first announced I assumed this would be an album in the vein of OSDM.  While this album certainly bears hallmarks of that hallowed sound, the band supplies so much more than the standard worshiping of the gods that came before.  For one, they aren’t so much focused on groove.  Of course, this album does have those groovy moments but there is actually quite a bit of technical prowess on display here.  I don’t mean in a modern “widdly wham” sense that so many bands bore me to death doing.  But the musicianship on display here is far above what most bands who play this raw of a style can achieve.  The drums are especially on a momentous display and I wouldn’t be surprised if the songs were written around Moran’s performance because it sounds like the band said, “Hey, go into this room and play your ass off for thirty-three minutes and we will be back.”  Moran delivers a truly standout performance.

Stubbs’ bass and guitar are two more reasons why the band sets themselves apart from the pack.  As I said earlier there is a technical display to the playing but this guy has somehow figured out how to incorporate this into dirty, dirty riffs that are actually worth hearing and never lose their bludgeoning focus.  On top of all that, each riff is important—this dude doesn’t seem to run out of ideas!

Parker’s vocals are deep as hell and cold as the grave—he has a perfect voice for death metal.  The album mix for his performance is balanced so well—not buried but never overly loud.  His voice is treated as an instrument too and he melds in with the others, as well he should.  Speaking of the mix again, it works in favor of the production because it allows this raw album to still sound excellent and gives each instrument room to breathe without any edge being lost along the way.

The album begins with “Intro,” and, well, it is just that.  The album really starts with “Unction of Muliebrous Broth.”  Right out of the gate, the album hits hard with cracking snare, buzzing riffs, and deep, murderous growls.  The band blows through the seconds with guile, fury, and a banging groove but the band doesn’t stay long a they settle for a slightly slower ride towards the end with huge riffs.

Peryphlegethonic Mindflaying,” switches between blitzkriegs of snare and guitar and slower, more methodical rhythm. Around the 1:15 mark we are introduced to the band’s brand of melody, which is just as sick and twisted as anything else they do.  The 3:25 mark is actually rather cavernous, the riffs piling on top as the weight crushes your until the depths. The drumming during the opening of “Lurid Placeless Echoes” is marching death machine.  It also helps push the song to new directions with thick, grinding riffs that echo the equally deranged vocals.  A biting guitar solo built off their weird brand of melody cuts through the miasma before the band gets back at it with fervor.

The album is consistent all the way through with the back half displaying some of the best songs.  “Tendon Pandentum,” is a short but sweet ride that fits more death metal mayhem in under three minutes than some bands can must for an hour.  The bass and guitars just buzz to the point of explosion with that killer tone—this song is nearly sweltering with its heavy handed groove as it just piles on sick note after sick note.

The bass for “Death Of Ratiocination,” shook me to my core and those riffs just forced their way into me.  From a crawling beginning to a speed force within seconds, the song isn’t happy unless it is beating life force into submission.  Each time the song changes direction, a new dimension of pain is introduced.  The middle part is a killer groove that speeds up as the riffs get more focused and technical.

The last track, “The Glory Of Woe,” is a badass little instrumental that ends the album well.  The first half is all about the slow way of introducing a little death while the later half is clean instrumentation that is surprisingly moving. All in all, OCCUSLED’sCrepitation of Phlegethon” is a monumental death metal album that speaks to the power of the underground metal scene.  I can’t imagine any reason for a fan of extreme metal to not come away impressed with this unforgiving music.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Unction of Muliebrous Broth
3. Peryphlegethonic Mindflaying
4. Thou Butcherer of Human Folly
5. Lurid Placeless Echoes
6. Between Engorged Realities
7. Concupiscence of Frenzied Humors
8. Tendon Pandentum
9. Death of Ratiocination
10. The Soul's Admonishment
11. The Glory of Woe
J. Moran - Drums
J. Stubbs - Guitars, Bass
K. Parker - Vocals
Record Label: Everlasting Spew Records


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