Orcustus - Orcustus
Southern Lord
Black Metal
7 songs (41:43)
Release year: 2009
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Goat

You can’t get much more underground than Mr Per Husebø, or as he’s better known: Dirge Rep. He’s been a vital part of the Norwegian Black Metal scene for years, a member of such greats as Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Nattefrost and Aura Noir, as well as drumming currently for Craft and the underrated Gehenna, not to mention being a part of such barely-noticed but quality projects like Neetzach and Secht. Despite that it often seems like he’s left to the sidelines when people come to discuss important figures of the scene, despite a practically flawless track record. His name on an album has come to epitomise solid Black Metal quality for me in many ways, and the debut album from Orcustus is no exception.

With Dirge providing the backing blast and fellow Orcustusian Taipan (also of Thrash/Grinders Amok and a guest in Taake) on guitars and vocals, the stage is set for forty-odd minutes of high-quality TNBM, and that’s exactly what you get. Named after an underground zine from the 90s which Bård 'Faust' Eithun of Emperor and Aborym infamy published, the self-titled album blasts a very enjoyable path down the years, back to when Norwegian Black Metal was still the toast of the world and experimentalism was a dirty word. Apart from some distorted spooky vocals at the start of opening deluge Coil, it’s right into the action; there’s no ambient keyboard nonsense intro to skip, and aside from a couple of samples and some chanting, it’s old-school darkness all the way. Impressively, although first impressions may leave you nonplussed, if you persist with Orcustus you’ll find yourself enjoying it more and more, the repeated riffs in Coil becoming ever darker, Taipan’s shrieks becoming more horrific and terrified, with even a bit of catchiness creeping in at the mid-point breakdown.

There are no real standout moments, but there aren’t any poor moments either. Longest track present Of Sophistry, Obsession And Paranoia is deep and compelling at nearly nine minutes of length, some creepy droning whispers partway through very effective. It’s worth noting that Gorgoroth’s Tormentor and Infernus make appearances on the album providing guitar and bass on all but a couple of tracks – this truly is the cream of the Norwegian crop, and the fact that Taipan and Dirge Rep have been working on the album since 2002 shows how thought-out it is. Slower, more atmospheric sections such as Jesus Christ Patricide are well-placed and fit in well with speedy assaults like Death And Dissolution. There’s even a hint of Blackened Thrash on finale Asphyxiokenisis, which closes the album with a bang and makes you want more immediately.

It’s unclear whether Orcustus are a long-term project or a one-off; I for one would love to hear more from the duo and their friends, as this is a solid album that will fit perfectly into the collection of any Black Metaller that counts their devotion to the music even a fraction as honest and intense as Dirge Rep’s. Don’t expect to be knocked out by Orcustus, but do expect to be quite pleased; only posers will be disappointed with a purchase of this.

Killing Songs :
Coil, Jesus Christ Patricide, Death And Dissolution, Ego Sum Chaos, Asphyxiokenisis
Goat quoted 77 / 100
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