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Okkultist - Reinventing Evil

Okkultist
Reinventing Evil
by Sean McGuirk at 04 April 2019, 9:27 PM

OKKULTIST comes from Lisbon, Portugal, and plays a well-crafted brand of sinister Heavy Metal with a diverse array of influences. While it may be the impression you get from their name, or the album “Reinventing Evil,” or their stated objective, “to drag your sinful soul down to Hell,” they are far from a traditional Black Metal act.  With members coming from bands like BOOZE ABUSER and TOXIC ROOM, the roots here are in Thrash and Heavy Metal.  There’s also a talented female screamer at the helm in Beatriz Mariano, who will make you want to compare the overall product to ARCH ENEMY, as there’s a strong touch of Melodic Death in the mix as well.

The title track comes on with a blast beat fury, with a tremolo-picked melody leading the charge. Mariano’s evil fry vocals are static with the occasional snarl of attitude. The underlying music is very groove-oriented, with a nice breakdown about halfway through that adds some grandeur. The idea here is a very theatrical version of Gothic Metal, one that often feels only skin deep.  The song titles like “Back From The Dead” and “Sniff The Blood” imply a kind of Hot Topic version of Satanism.  It’s all for show, but this is music you’ll want to crank in the car on the way home from work, not conduct any kind of blood ritual to.

There’s certainly a feeling of fun that adds an interesting counterpoint to all the sinister posing going on, with a generous amount of pinch harmonics and percussive rhythms ala bands like LAMB OF GOD or PANTERA.  “Sign of the Ripper” is a strong mid-tempo track that adds some clean guitar and a bit of depth.  “I am the Beast” sounds like a Michael Amott track, whether it be the aforementioned ARCH ENEMY or the legendary CARCASS.  There’s a touch of biker doom to “Grave Digger,” whose engine idles and slowly builds to a roar.  Mariano’s vocal phrasing on “Plasmodium Nocturnus” recalls a bit of Chuck Schuldiner, indeed a compliment, as her charisma highlights a lot of otherwise run-of-the-mill songs.  One of the strongest tracks, the finale “Rise and Reign” has a touch of late-period NEVERMORE to it, and is a showcase for lead guitarist Leander Sandmeier, who channels Jeff Loomis with an excellent extended solo piece. This song may be a good jumping off point when writing a new record as the influences coalesce to create a unique tone and feel.

The band is signed to Alma Mater Records, headed by Fernando Ribeiro, the frontman of fellow Portuguese legends MOONSPELL, who are no stranger to experimentation, so they are certainly in a great spot to excel.  For now, though, this debut is just a solid collection of melodic metal, with some bright spots.  Also included is a bonus BATHORY cover, “Satan, My Master,” that ends up feeling a bit disingenuous, as OKKULTIST’s brand of sinister is one that feels tightly controlled, rather than completely feral.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Reinventing Evil
2. Back From The Dead
3. Sniff The Blood
4. Sign of the Ripper
5. I Am The Beast
6. Grave Digger
7. Plasmodium Nocturnus
8. Rise And Reign
9. Satan My Master
Lineup:
Beatriz Mariano- Vocals
Leander Sandmeier - Guitars (Lead)
Moises Filho - Guitars (Rhythm)
The Lorke - Drums
Antim Batchev - Bass
Record Label: Alma Mater Records
     


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