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The infamous brainchild, of even more renowned men by the likes of Infernus, Taipan, Tormentor and Dirge Rep, Orcustus is quite an impressive act. Whilst not really breaking any new ground, the band lives up to their reputation, creating some hellish black 'n' roll, drawing influences from each and every of their respective bands. Aura Noir, Enslaved and Gorgoroth strongly resembled throughout the entirety of the release. That said, even if they don't stray too far from their roots, they have developed a noticeable sound of their own. Each of their releases is aggressive, muddy and oozing with hatred, really... what more could we ask from a black metal band? In particular, what more could we ask from a black metal band with strong second wave figures present?
The all out blast beat assault is, basically, just that. Reminiscent of second wave black metal, early European thrash and old-school death metal. The riffs are ever-changing, though remain tremolo picked and don't progress far from the last riff, the drums play constant, solid blast beats and the vocals are phlegmy and well performed, although the reverberation is annoying as hell, not to mention the fact they're placed far above everything else in the mix, which really effects the music; if the vocals were under the mix, drowned out by black metal, it'd give it a much better atmosphere, not to mention the music would sound complete. The only real downfall on this demo is the vocal effects, while they're layered with reverb and delay, the instruments have very few, if none at all, which in turn gives the production a very amateurish finish.
Each song takes a different approach to the genre, the opener for example begins, and continues right through with aggressive black metal, bar none. Where as World Dirtnap, has a slower, more thrashy appeal to it. The riffs are far more structured and the temp slowed down immensely. The final song, Lucifuge Damnation, takes a much more melodic, though aggressive direction, before a bombardment of fast, aggressive black metal, to take the demo to a close. Each song, while noticeably Orcustus, have their own thing happening, which is cool, and different - I mean, look at virtually any black metal release, once a band develops a sound, they'll stick to it for the entirety of their career, really not changing in the slightest.
An impressive, albeit a bit rushed, release from Orcustus. Besides the aforementioned production problems, for a demo it's not to bad. It's worth checking out, as it's free and a considerably short demo.
There is no doubt that Black Metal originated, exploded and died as a vivid Black Flame, short-lived but intense. Yet, something lives on beneath the ashes, and is brought back to life every now and then as deadly as ever. Thus, in 1998, Taipan started working on his own compositions, drawing inspiration from the classic Norwegian Black Metal art. Two years later, he found the musicians to form a band named Orcustus. And in 2002, the band released this first offering, simply titled "Demo 2002", in true underground spirit.
Despite being a newcomer to the scene, Orcustus lives as a collective of very known and skilled musicians. Apart from Taipan on vocals, the band features the likes of Tormentor (formerly of Gorgoroth) on guitars, Infernus (yet again from Gorgoroth) on bass and Dirge Rep. (ex memebr of Gehenna and recently out of Enslaved) on drums. The demo also features Ivar Peersen of Enslaved on production dudes.
The results, as one can expect, are impressive for a debut demo. First, the musicianship shown here is nothing short of excellent, with the band venturing through the three lengthy compositions with a spontaneous technicality (if this term can be applied to Black Metal) and evident self-confidence. Secondly, the sound is very appropriate and clear for a demo; actually, I've heard official full lengths sounding much worse than this. The drums sound tight and solid (no plastic triggering here), the guitars have their fair amount of distortion without drowning everything in a floodwave of static and the bass is pretty clear and audible too! Taipan's vocals have a very echoy sound, as if they were recorded in a huge dark cave; sometimes they sound a bit too "separate" from the rest of the music and at times there are a bit of volume problems (meaning that either the voice disappears or it drowns the melody with its abundance of reverb). The result, however, is far from bad for a demo, and Taipan's performance is quite good, although it lacks a bit of personality and variation.
Speaking of the music, this demo contains three songs for a complexive duration of roughly sixteen minutes. Stylistically, Orcustus play old-school Black Metal with lots some Thrashy twists, and prefers mid-to-fast grooves rather than the obligatoryt blasting, although the guitar playing sticks to the usual tremolo-picking most of the time. As I said, all the songs have a pretty extended duration for the genre, showcasing a good abundance of riffs and tempos which keeps them from becoming overdone and boring.
This demo is among the best I've ever heard, and is a very promising offering from an interisting band. Hopefully we will hear of Orcustus again soon, perhaps while talking of their debut album.