Occult Rock

Ponte del Diavolo – Fire Blades from the Tomb Review

Ponte del Diavolo – Fire Blades from the Tomb Review

“Having spread the spectrum of their influences across a few EPs, Ponte del Diavolo reigns in the fettering ambience and shriekier black metal extremes of their formative work for this debut full-length. In this regard, these witchcraft-worshipping Italians come across like a punk-edged, tremolo riff-informed Sabbath Assembly, with mic-echantress Erba del Diavolo capturing the same essence of cult-fearing warble that a fervent Jamie Meyers possesses.” Tomb knives.

Byron – Chapter II: The Lotus Covenant Review

Byron – Chapter II: The Lotus Covenant Review

“As metal spawns an ever-growing army of combo meals, sometimes it’s nice to go back to the basics. Finland’s Byron, previously reviewed here by our gone-but-not-forgotten Huck n’ Roll, peddle a brand of occult rock with dashes of NWoBHM. Led by drummer Johannes Lahti—styling himself as Byron V—the band has emerged four years after their debut The Omega Evangelion with follow-up Chapter II: The Lotus Covenant.” Tentacle tantrums.

Lucifer – Lucifer V Review

Lucifer – Lucifer V Review

“Ah, Lucifer. I remember listening to their self-titled debut album back in 2015 and being immediately hooked by the killer pipes of frontwoman Johanna Platow Andersson and their take on fuzzy, doomy occult rock. But as I sit here to craft a review of Lucifer’s fifth album (aptly titled Lucifer V), I must admit that after that very first dance with the devil in the pale moonlight, I haven’t listened to them much in the intervening years.” New year, same Devil.

Kontact – Full Contact Review

Kontact – Full Contact Review

“When a band draws so clearly on an aged aesthetic, the results can be hard to parse as pastiche, worship, or otherwise. Even moreso in niche corners like the epic heavy metal crowd, where soaring vocals of varying qualities—all hoping to stick in your mind regardless—triumph alongside thick kicks, thicker riffs, and battle-tested builds, worshippers of the riff conflict with worshippers of the riffers. Enter Kontact, a young Canadian troupe whose 2022 release, the cheeky-titled EP First Contact, played tightly on the ideas set forth by the idiosyncratic but ever-mountainous Manilla Road, but with enough of their space-bound palette to paint a few stripes of their own.” Bad touch.

Green Lung – This Heathen Land Review

Green Lung – This Heathen Land Review

“There is something familiar and charming about what Green Lung do and do so well. Blending the likes of Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Boston and more, the band harks back to an earlier time and, on Black Harvest, managed to do that with their own voice. However, there are lots of other things I can reach to for comfort and familiarity, perhaps explaining why I haven’t reached for Black Harvest until thinking about this review. What staying power does This Heathen Land have?” Of Lungs and lands.

Ghost – IMPERA Review

Ghost – IMPERA Review

Ghost is a divisive band. Forget red states and blue states; don’t bother with Yankees or Red Sox; and I don’t want to hear whose side you take in the Montreal Screwjob debacle. There’s only one true rivalry, and the debate only grows more contentious with each new Papa. Indeed, the rift between Ghost adherents and their vehement detractors is a vast, otherworldly chasm, overflowing with hate-kindled magma and plumes of blackened self-righteousness. All that being said, I really like ’em.” Ghost in the cash machine.

Doctor Smoke – Dreamers and the Dead Review

Doctor Smoke – Dreamers and the Dead Review

Ghost created quite the marketable niche for themselves when they introduced the whole “faceless ghouls and demon Pope paying homage to Blue Oyster Cult and Mercyful Fate” schtick. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did, but their notoriety speaks for itself. Other bands tried similar recipes with varying degrees of success but none came close to capturing the secret ingredients in Ghost’s unholy special sauce. Ohio-based Doctor Smoke aren’t trying to ape those nameless ghouls so much as borrow the best parts of their sound to season their own proprietary slurry composed of hair metal, hard rock, NWoBHM, and a vague Foo Fighters appreciation.” Smoky bones and Ghost loans.

Witchcryer – When Their Gods Come for You Review

Witchcryer – When Their Gods Come for You Review

“I recall being quite taken with Witchcryer’s 2017 debut Cry Witch when I stumbled across it in the rancid promo sump. A product of Las Cruces, Earthen Grave, and The Living Fields members, it had a lively doom rock sound akin to Castle and Jex Thoth and frontwoman Suzy Bravo was a force to be reckoned with. In hindsight, however, I overrated the album as it was very short on content, and though its high points are great, it has downslopes and filler too, which is a bad sign for such a short album. Nonetheless, I was still excited to get my hands on their sophomore album When Their Gods Come for You and see what the last few years had done to their sound.” Gods and sirens.

Mama Doom – Ash Bone Skin N Stone Review

Mama Doom – Ash Bone Skin N Stone Review

“Occult rock has undergone something of a renaissance. Over the past few years, it would seem that a crop of Blue Öyster Cult devotees have taken a collective step outside of their salt circle and onto the lighted stage. Whether it’s the pop metal Satanism of Ghost, or the 70s-tinged stylings of groups like Lucifer, Blood Ceremony and Witch Mountain, occult rock with just the right amount of metallic edge has taken a very specific subset of the world by storm. So where does New York’s Mama Doom fit into the pentagramed paradigm?” I dismember mama.