Execration - Odes of the Occult
Duplicate Records
Death Metal
11 songs (01:01:15)
Release year: 2011
Duplicate Records
Reviewed by Charles
Album of the month
Nowadays I suppose that when we apply adjectives like “weird”, “abstract” or “esoteric” to death metal we are inclined to think either of grating technicality- see Baring Teeth, for example- or sickening avant-garde scratching like Portal. But death metal should conjure all of those adjectives anyway even (or especially) in its old-school forms, and it’s good to have Norway’s singular Execration around to make that point. Odes of the Occult is a sprawling, tangled album, which is ramshackle in delivery but with a substance forged by warped, malign intelligence. Ghastly vocals conspire with rattling Swedeath-influenced riffs and plenty of malnourished ambiance to produce something which is by turns ferocious and creepy- with a sense of crawling down-tempo chaos that is more intense than on its more dense and brutal predecessor, 2008’s Syndicate of Lethargy.

Thus opener Ode to Obscurity trundles through moaning, slimy sections of sinister slowness- like early Pestilence engulfed by molten treacle. But it then catapults immediately into the pairing of Unction and Entheogen, whose aggression and speed comes on just like the early Swedish death classics. Even here, though, there is a shambling feel to the riffing, lent both by the crackling, dirty guitar tone and the gruff vocals. And as usual with Execration these tracks are bedevilled by tormenting tempo changes and eerie dissonance.

You may gain from this that Odes… has a turbulent feel to it which is quite distinctive and welcome. It doesn’t have the esoteric ferocity of early Morbid Angel, or the forward-thinking clarity of Death, or the exhilarating haywire vileness of Cryptopsy, but in its vomitous lurches from crusty blasting to worming disorientation, this is extremely powerful. Indeed, the best tunes here are masterpieces of unrestful horror. Soul Maggot tosses and turns from overpowering death metal riff- somewhere between Entombed and Autopsy- to cackling atonal catharsis and back again, never really solidifying into something easily comprehensible or digestible, but still building to a ghastly climax. Left in Scorn is a harrowing journey through slow-burning gloom, drenched in horrid feedback.

It’s a long album, and perhaps could have been slimmed down, but its bloated nature seems to suit it. The Intermezzi sections have a genuinely unsettling atmosphere to rival Deathspell Omega’s quieter passages. Its riffing is often utterly brilliant- urgent, punkish and energetic as with the almost Nasum-like pound to the opening of Grains- and all the more effective for the knowledge that it is only minutes (or seconds) away from crash-landing into some kind of warped sump. This is great; technical, creative, atmospheric and brutal, and probably one of 2011’s most interesting death metal releases.

Killing Songs :
Soul Maggot, Left in Scorn, Unction
Charles quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Execration that we have reviewed:
Execration - Morbid Dimensions reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
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