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Quo vadis, Quorthon? - 10%

Felix 1666, July 16th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1995, CD, Black Mark Production

If this album was meant to be a joke, then I want to kill my humour. Quorthon (R.I.P.) has produced many acoustic curiosities, but it would be a euphemism to describe "Octagon" as a curiosity. It lacks of charm, character, mysticism and - to get to the nitty-gritty - good or even acceptable tunes. Already the stylistic classification is problematic. Is this post thrash? Is it a slack form of noisecore? Is it music at all?

Well, Quorthon intends to raise some hell and, unlike "Twilight of the Gods" or "Hammerheart", the album does not offer consensus metal. So far, so good. But the mostly rapid yet completely stupid hammering of the drum computer (?) as well as the total absence of intelligent guitar work lead to a devastating overall picture. There are no sharp riffs and no compelling leads, but solos without rhyme or reason in abundance. Most songs seem to be based on only one tone and this is nothing but a shame. Velocity alone is no crucial factor and the first five tracks confirm this statement impressively. "Century" slows down the pace, but its substandard, somehow uninspired riffing also fails to draw the attention of the listener. By the way, the track is insubstantial (and the same applies for most parts of the album). Believe me, despite its non-excessive duration of four minutes, "Century" is just too long.

Let's leave the song material to its own devices and have a look at the mix. It must be better than the musical content, everything else is unimaginable. But I never had much fantasy and so it is no surprise that the flat, brittle, undifferentiated, slightly dissonant and noisy production sucks. Especially the guitars have a somewhat unnatural and annoying sound. Be that as it may, the expressionless vocals are not better. Quorthon reaches his all time low in "Schizianity". His clean vocals are crude enough to make the whole extreme metal community fall on its knees and cry bitterly. But I freely admit that the lyrics are simply true. "The world is so full of fools" - and I am one of them, because I bought this trash.

"War Supply" has a part that remotely resembles a chorus and this is enough in order to be the "best" piece, if we leave the cover version out of consideration. At this point, it is time to ask for compassion for Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Yes, they wrote many mediocre tracks and nevertheless, they became millionaires. Thus, there is actually no reason for compassion. But even incomprehensibly rich men do not deserve that one of their songs is part of "Octagon". "Deuce" shows that pretty solid riffs can be helpful in order to pen a hard rock / metal song... I will never understand Quorthon's intention behind "Octagon". And no, my rating is not a joke.