Occult - Elegy for the Weak
Karmageddon Media
Death Thrash Metal
11 songs (40'31")
Release year: 2004
Occult, Karmageddon Media
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Don’t make the mistake judging the book by its cover or Occult by its moniker. The CD came with the promo sheet, but I make it a rule never to read one until I listened to the album, at least once. Seeing the name, Occult, I for sure conjured up images of Satan worshipping black metal. Sure enough, I got it wrong, but to bandage my ego somewhat so did the aforementioned promo sheet. Where in the name of Occult do they hear “Gothenberg” on this crusher? Black metal this isn’t either, Occult are brutal death metal bred on Bay Area thrash with acquired darkened heart somewhere in its evolution. The picture of black-clad, no war paint or other gimmick, hair-flowing-to-the-belts Dutchmen on the album back cover completes the picture.

Occult is a band from Netherlands that has been around for a decade, released five albums … and I have never heard a pip about them. My loss, but this is about to change after Elegy for the Weak is out on Karmageddon brought to us by Candlelight.

The first few songs left solid but not overwhelming impression. I guess the band had to remind us of their roots and exorcize their Slayer worship. Fast, aggressive and relentless Disturbing the Dead and Nocturnal Predator are very much inspired by the Araya/King/Hanneman crew. Feel the Blade took everything to another level. The main riff on this track has an unbelievable dark bouncy groove superbly contrasting the song’s brutal pulverizing faster sections. Very reminiscent of recent Kataklysm, such seemingly mutually exclusive dichotomy appeals to me tremendously. With the exception of the uninteresting Expire (which is just a crackled instrumental gap, nothing more) the second part of Elegy for the Weak subscribes to the melodic viciousness theory wholeheartedly. Occult melodies, however, are NOT Gothenberg harmonies delivered by a guitar duet. Theirs are forceful slightly downtuned riffs repeated multiple times with fierce conviction. Richard’s guitar, Twan’s bass and Erik’s drums synchronize as one in their rhythmic crunch. I can only imagine how crowds go wild in local bars when Occult plays. Their hands must be up in the air, necks thrashing vigorously, throats yelling “Slut of Sodom” or “Until the Battle”.

Individual performances almost not important, this band executes in well-tuned unison. Maurice’s vocals are not of the typical low growling death variety. Instead, he is closer to Swedish thrash school in my opinion – edgy, higher pitched, but more decipherable at the same time. Guitar does not lead much, but when it does it is very timely (you can hear those hogs squeal on Slaughtering the Pigs). Erik’s drumming is nowhere near as fast as Martin Maurais or Max Duhamel, but he is very tight and every beat of his snare (a verrrrry frequent occurrence on Elegy for the Weak) reverberates with the listener. Big thanks for the sound should probably go to producer Andy Classen (Dew Scented) who is no stranger to mastering powerful delivery.

Somehow, every Dutch death metal band I have heard takes on the darker edge. Fans of God Dethroned and Sinister (a band Occult donated their former singer Rachel Heyzer to) need to become aware of Occult and enjoy their stateside debut. Although I recommend you keep your kids and pets away.

Killing Songs :
Feel the Blade, Obsessed by the Grave, Slaughtering the Pigs, Reapers Call, Slut of Sodom, Until the Battle
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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