Oculus - The Apostate of Light 01Everyone has a unique reviewing method when it comes to writing about an album. Sometimes, the words come to me almost immediately, whether in praise or in condemnation. Other times, finding the right words or comparisons takes a while. In other words, I went back-and-forth with where to go with this review of The Apostate of Light, the debut album by Euro-American black metal collective, Oculus. I couldn’t find the right words to convey my feelings about this six-song, fifty-four-minute album. So, I did what I normally do on the weekends when I’m grasping at straws about what to write for a review: I sat in front of my PS4 and started playing games. It was right then and there that what I wanted to say revealed itself to me. Basically, The Apostate of Light is the musical equivalent to the game Destiny.

For those who don’t game, Destiny is a first-person shooter/role-playing hybrid where you play as a character who’s resurrected by a Peter Dinklage-voiced robot companion, and you more-or-less go around shooting things while trying to put together what happened to you. Just as the game starts off beautifully, so does The Apostate of Light. “The Sour Waters of Life” opens the album up on an equally strong foot, featuring some heavy drumming by Ormenos, and solid Deathspell Omega-like riffing by Nero and Kozeljnik, with the latter moaning over everything. Not the most original of sounds, but the atmosphere suffocates just enough to create an intriguing aura. Just like the game, The Apostate started off strongly, leaving me chomping at the bit to dig deeper and discover what the album has in store for me.

But here’s where the comparison rears its ugly head. Destiny, while beautiful to look at, became monotonous to play, with little-to-no deviation from shooting and flying (and crashing) your space bike. In comparison, The Apostate fell into the same trap of monotony and lack of variety. The other five songs offer no deviation from each other. The riffs blend together. The drumming follows similar patterns with nothing catching the ear. And just as I tired of listening to Dinklage after a few hours, I became incredibly bored with Kozeljnik’s one-note moaning by the time the second song, “Salt of the Healer,” reached its halfway point. Worse yet, the shortest song on here, “A Visage of Dark Remembrance,” clocks in at just under seven minutes, and even that feels three-four minutes too long.

Oculus - The Apostate of Light 02
The Apostate
comes with stock black metal mixing options. Kozeljnik’s voice maintains an up-front, cavernous presence, almost effectively drowning out the paper-y drums and distorted cymbals. The guitars possess heft but had I not read that Ormenos also handled bass duties, I would have assumed there wasn’t any as it’s smothered beyond life. Oddly enough, for something so dynamic, it’s still sounds muffled and loud. Nothing could resuscitate repetitive songwriting, though. I admire ambitiousness in music, but when you struggle to write a song that’s six-seven minutes long, why shoot for longer? “The Sour Waters of Life” notwithstanding, The Apostate was an absolute chore to get through after the first playthrough, and the other five I gave it didn’t engage me any more than the first time.

But as “The Sour Waters of Life” reveal, there’s something there. The ferocity, rage, and swirling chaos provided a promising hook that hints that more can be developed. However, the songs need tightening, the hooks elsewhere should be made stronger, and the atmosphere darker and murkier. As it stands, I’m putting this on the shelves for something more engaging.

 


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Blood Harvest Records
Website: facebook.com/oculusband
Release Dates: EU: 2017.09.29 | NA: 10.13.2017

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  • Master of Muppets

    I don’t even play vidja games very frequently at all, and I love what you did with this. Strong work, and cool find. Maybe next album will see more innovation to go along with the talent.

    • Grymm

      Thank you, and that’s the thing. “The Sour Waters of Life” is a strong indicator of what Oculus is capable of. Give them an album or two to develop, and something extraordinary may develop.

      • wayne the devil

        I have STILL not beat Dark Souls 3…yet…going on a year on and off…too bad about the score for this album. I have been spy balling it for awhile.

        • Kyle Elliott

          Hell I’m still clawing my way through bloodborne..

          • wayne the devil

            I know your pain guys…but getting my ass beat by DS3 has seemed to enhance my skill at other games..so…..

          • Kyle Elliott

            Failure is the finest mentor

          • Nukenado

            Wait till you get to DS1…

        • Eli Valcik

          I still have yet to beat the 3rd level of Dark Souls 3. Total War Warhammer 2 released today so that should be taking up most of my time.

        • Hammersmith

          Dark Souls is a series that I have to play in spurts. Play for a week, put down for a month.

      • Eli Valcik

        I am also happy to see somebody who hates destiny as much as I do. Now we must team up to convince my friends to play better games with me.

        • Grymm

          I liked it for about 3 hours, and then tried to find something to do while playing.

          That’s never a good sign.

          • Eli Valcik

            It was a RPG made by a bunch of guys who knew nothing about RPGs.

  • Wes Allen

    Wut is happening in the band photo.

    • wayne the devil

      Something Satanic no doubt…I am also pretty sure I have seen the robed one on the right carved out of wood around town, looming in front yards…creepy….

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Gandalf playing rock-paper-scissors?

        • wayne the devil

          “Bend over hobbit…..”

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Dirty

          • wayne the devil

            In abject disgust, Mithrander discovers where Frodo is really hiding the one ring…

          • HeavyMetalHamster

            Lol
            Reminds me of the Jack Black skit at the Oscars with Frodo and his cock ring.

          • sir_c

            That brings a different perspective on the eye of Sauron.

          • wayne the devil

            Cue Music….”don’t fool yourself Frodo, it’s winking at you……”

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Two Pumpkin Spice Lattes, please.

    • Here’s Johnny

      looks like a normal saturday night to me

  • jolly cooperation

    Ha, neeeerd

  • Nukenado

    Never knew being a a gamer could enable me to guess review scores.
    As soon as I saw Destiny mentioned I was “No higher than a 3, depending on Grymm’s multiplayer shooter apologist feelings.”

  • Nukenado

    You missed an easy joke though.
    “I thought this was going to be the Oculus Rift, but it turned out to be a Virtual Boy”
    Or
    “Just like the Oculus Rift, this band has potential, bit the creativity in the contents runs out real quick.”

  • Hammersmith

    If this is like Destiny, what album would be like Destiny 2?

    • Nukenado

      How’s the game?
      It could either be a redemption album like Atoma, or it could be Will to Power from Arch Enemy.

  • jersey devil

    this is like spoken word with dissonant black metal behind it. strange, but i like it.

  • jersey devil

    i dont understand gaming. seems so boring and useless. i’d rather read.