Occult Rock

Lucifer – Lucifer II Review

Lucifer – Lucifer II Review

“Now is the summer of my discontent. Not only because the sun incessantly threatens to ignite my beard, but having reviewed too much of one thing, the urge to consume an entirely different animal has reared its ugly head. Borne atop a moldering mound of lesser reviewers by those most metal of saints, I spied a beckoning light in the recesses of the perdition manifest we affectionately call the promo pit. Said bastion was none other than German-based doom/rock act, Lucifer, and their compactly titled second album, Lucifer II.” The Devil you should get to know.

Acârash – In Chaos Becrowned Review

Acârash – In Chaos Becrowned Review

“When a band comes out of the woods calling themselves an occult rock band, I can’t help but think of Ghost. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly think of Ghost when I think of occult rock (I more think of those odd, ritualistic LaVey recordings I’ve heard) but that seems to be the way many o’ metalhead think. The silly Satanic lyrics, the soaring vocals and the doomy, gloomy, rocking, old-school riffs of Opus Eponymous are what people associate “occult rock” with these days. On the immediate surface, Norway’s Acârash don’t disagree with this assessment of occult rock but, boy, do they have a darker, blacker outlook on the style.” Ghost reveries.

Jess and the Ancient Ones – The Horse and Other Weird Tales Review

Jess and the Ancient Ones – The Horse and Other Weird Tales Review

Avatarium went from retro doom to 60s rock in the span of 3 albums, and over their own 3 album run, Jess and the Ancient Ones voyaged from occult 70s rock/metal to what they’ve become on The Horse and Other Weird Tales – tripped out 60s hippie rock with nary a metal influence to be found.” Find your inner hippie.

Venomous Maximus – No Warning Review

Venomous Maximus – No Warning Review

Venomous Maximus try their darndest to move past the “occult” label and appeal more generally to the metal masses. Like their records before it, No Warning is an attempt to appease fans of both the sinister and the catchy. In other words, they seem to be striving for ownership of the same plot of land Ghost lay claim to. Stealing the ghost.

Kabbalah – Spectral Ascent Review

Kabbalah – Spectral Ascent Review

“The formula for Spectral Ascent is quite simple. The music is rooted in classic, 70s style hard rock with a Coven-inspired occult atmosphere, draped over the bones of Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult. If that makes you think: “Well golly gee, this here description sure do sound like Ghost,” I would tell you two things: learn some grammar, and you’re almost right.” Me fail English? Unpossible!

Sabbath Assembly – Rites of Passage Review

Sabbath Assembly – Rites of Passage Review

Sabbath Assembly have been gifting us with music firmly entrenched in eerie discomfort since 2009. In the early years, their releases centered upon the teachings of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, which made them disturbing to the point of near-inaccessibility. In what was a positive career move, the band decided not to regale us with further hippy cult weirdness on 2015’s self-titled release, instead focusing on pure occult songs, resulting in an excellent album that catapulted the band (in our eyes at least) to the top of the occult rock food chain.” Self-cleaning coven.

Bloody Hammers – Lovely Sort of Death Review

Bloody Hammers – Lovely Sort of Death Review

“There once was a time when the little known Bloody Hammers were making like the even lesser known Vardan by releasing new albums with shocking rapidity. Perhaps this was their way of getting their name out there and keeping whatever low-level momentum they garnered moving in the right direction. Unfortunately despite some good ideas, the music often felt slapped together and rushed with inconsistent results. The talent and potential were definitely there, but the results weren’t quite up to snuff. In my review of their 2014 opus Under Satan’s Sun I prescribed a longer time between releases to allow their ideas to germinate, marinate and ruminate, and perhaps they took the advice to heart.” Free advice is worth exactly what it costs.

Castle – Welcome to the Graveyard Review

Castle – Welcome to the Graveyard Review

Welcome to the Graveyard was easily one of my most hotly anticipated releases of the year. As a big fan of Castle’s eclectic take on occult doom rock since their 2011 debut, I couldn’t wait to see what they would come up with after 2014’s mammoth Under Attack. Said album showed an interesting progression in their style and an overall streamlining of their sound and that continues here in small ways as we get another high-quality dose of moody, dark tales spun by the creative powerhouse duo of vocalist/bassist Elizabeth Blackwell and guitarist Matt Davis.” Have fun re-storming the Castle!

Cadaveric Fumes – Dimensions Obscure Review

Cadaveric Fumes – Dimensions Obscure Review

“I have to get something off my chest here, folks. I’m getting sick and tired of bands hopping on the Retro Wagon of Regurgitated Ideas. There is more to doom metal than following the dragged robes of Ghost everywhere. Likewise, death metal has a beautifully disgusting range outside of the classic Sunlight Studios sound. And there’s more to France than fucked-up angular weirdness. So what’s a new band like France’s Cadaveric Fumes to do when trying to capture a unique sound? Take all three overplayed, over-saturated ideas, and combine them on their first three-song EP, Dimensions Obscure, that’s what! Surely, this is a recipe for disaster?” Let my people retro!