Southern Lord 2009
Orcustus embodies stout Norwegian black metal traditionalism that meets somewhere in the middle ground of Mayhem and modern Urgehal. Though it is famous for featuring members from prominent bands in the Norwegian scene I prefer to judge Orcutstus based on its own artistic merit. Coil opens the album with stylistic hints of Gorgoroth, Mayhem and other Nordic luminaries. Traditional anti-melodies blow out from the speakers like howling artic winds, chilling me to my bones. Subtle Hellhammer/Celtic Frost references bubble to the surface of this noxious mixture on Of Sophistry, Obsession, and Paranoia. The middle of the track broods with insipid insanity creeping from the abyss like a black ichorous fog. Jesus Christ Patricide, obviously anti-Xtian in theme is a testament to the power of freezing Nordic riffs when coupled with a Darkthrone funeral stomp. The bass guitar throbs like a hemorrhaging blood vessel while dissonant riffs inspire dementia. My favorite track though has to be Death and Dissolution as hyper blasting black riffs drop the body temperature to subzero extremes. The final track, Asphyxiokenisis begins with a Slayer-esque opening passage before a buzzing guitar riff punctuated by shrill harmonics spills out like an oozing sore, rancid and corrosive to all flesh. The production, though crisp with trebly hisses, is surprisingly thick and full sounding. Though Orcustus clings to established Nordic archetypes as a matter of principle, the sheer weight of artistic conviction and strength of songwriting integrity make this album both powerful and nostalgic. Uncompromising and raging like a feral beast, Orcustus rage with an intensity of abyssic hate.