Occult Rock

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!

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!

Arcana 13 – Danza Macabra Review

Arcana 13 – Danza Macabra Review

“AMG Himself likes to use helpful descriptors to mark band promos on the master spreadsheet so the staff knows what’s what. Having never heard of Arcana 13, my eyes were drawn to his cursory note describing them simply as “Ghost-core.” With my interest thusly piqued I gave Danza Macabra a spin and as advertised, it’s somewhat Ghost-y occult rock, but they make things more interesting by dialing up the heaviness and incorporating a good amount of Khemmis-esque stoner doom along with weird Danzig and Tiamat-isms.” From the crypt comes…monster riffs!

Jess and the Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes Review

Jess and the Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes Review

“Svart Records is a bastion of strange Finnish acts, and Jess and the Ancient Ones is one of the strangest. Starting with the same 70s occult rock indulged in by Ghost and Jex Thoth, they add in surfer rock and more than a little tripped out psychedelic acid rock to arrive at something altogether different.” Surf’s up and Satan is down!

Sabbath Assembly – Sabbath Assembly Review

Sabbath Assembly – Sabbath Assembly Review

Sabbath Assembly have always been odd, especially since they used their music to proselytize about the obscure religious splinter group known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment. This resulted in albums like Ye Are Gods and Quaternity playing like Manson-esque hippie cult indoctrination music and they were definitely an acquired taste with limited replay value. Cast out and finding their own way.

Ghost – Meliora Review

Ghost – Meliora Review

“I made no secret of my throbbing love for theirOpus Eponymous debut, and made even fewer bones about my disappointment with follow-up Infestissumam. With the band tied one and one and the writing apparently now being handled by someone named Klaus Ahlund, I looked to Meliora to determine if Ghost was a flash in the pan or a serious act worthy of the buzz their enigmatic antics earned them.” Is this one friendly like Casper or a total mess like Slimer?

Year of the Goat – The Unspeakable Review

Year of the Goat – The Unspeakable Review

“It wasn’t very long into Year of the Goat‘s sophomore effort, The Unspeakable that I was asking myself, “self, is this the second coming of Ghost?” The answer is no, since that happens next month and it’ll be their third coming (or two and a half since I didn’t care much for Infestissumam), but this here platter certainly has a lot of similarities to the goods provided by those mysterious masked ghouls.” Boo!