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Poccolus – Poccolus

by Matt Bozenda at 25 August 2020, 12:43 PM

Analog vaults are seeing the light of day and getting fresh air like never before thanks to everyone suddenly having a lot of time to burn. Lithuania’s Inferna Profundus Records has decided to breathe life back into one of their country’s premier legends in the sole full-length release by Pagan Black Metal outfit POCCOLUS. Primarily remembered for their eponymous 1996 debut, the band had actually been around since 1993, representing their newly independent nation on the international metal stage, taking up arms in one of the earliest new waves of black and pagan metal making waves outside the typical Scandinavian haunts.

Nearly twenty-five years on, the average metalhead might be able to guess the age like counting the rings of a fallen tree. That’s not to say this music did not age well, though age it has. The album sounds exactly like its time and place, which is, when distilled, early to mid 90’s Black Metal from an emerging post-Bloc nation. Not unlike Lithuania itself, POCCOLUS was materialized from the collapse of another band, the somewhat more anonymous Black/Thrash of NEMESIS. Some of the survivors put together this new band, named it after Pikolas, the ancient Prussian god of death, and, much like their homeland would achieve, they had their legs beneath them and their own feet to stand on.

The influence of home is evident on each track as well. They don’t spend any time waiting either, with the first song, "Vilkolakiai", practically starting mid-beat and introducing some distinctly folky-pagan elements. Aided by the use of the kankles, a Lithuanian lute, the folkiness is amped up in the almost progressive "Ugnis Kyla Virs Azuolu" which also happens to be the album’s longest track, a pagan anthology at just under twelve minutes.

A departure from the typical Black Metal fare comes along over the next few tracks, intertwining the usual shrieking vocals with a high chant, creating a new layer of depth to an already dynamic sound. Tracks like "Jie Ateis" serve as prime examples of the burgeoning sound that this band manages to create for themselves. "Tai Bus Mano Triumfo Valanda" departs even further, however, reaching back to sound like a more orthodox Black Metal track than the songs around it.

Pagan tradition ushers in "Kirsk, Medeine, Kirsk" an ode to the old goddess of the forest. The final salvo comes in the form of "Dvasklajys", which may inspire fire-dancing rituals to take place, and all capped with a nameless outro that gently returns the listener to reality.

"Poccolus" is yet another of metal’s old gems getting polished up and given a new run at the press. The band’s status of late probably leans in the hiatus direction, even without the pandemic to consider. To date, they have not recorded a full-length follow up, and have only made sparse appearances on compilations.

So unfortunately, this album is a memorial to a music scene that was mid-evolution, to be duplicated or set-upon but never again to move from its position in history, giving POCCOLUS a legendary air about them. The decision to record in their native language may have limited their reach in the mainstream markets at the time but with modern metalheads able to hear music from countries they couldn’t find on a map, "Poccolus" may yet find a slot in the reliquary of the Metal Gods.

Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Vilkolakiai
2. Pakol Dega Lauzai
3. Ugnis Kyla Virs Azuolu
4. Begeyte Peccolle
5. Jie Ateis
6. Rudens Misko Snabzdesiai
7. Tai Bus Mano Triumpfo Valanda
8. Kirsk, Medeine, Kirsk
9. Dvasklajys
10. Outro
Ramunas Personis – Vocals, guitar, keyboards
Raimondas Ramonas – Bass
Valdas Latonas – Drums
Jurate – Keyboards
Audrius Simkunas – Drums
Record Label: Inferna Profundus Records


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