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Agios, Agios! Lucifer Ascendant! - 100%

HviteGuden, January 28th, 2020

Dødsengel is a remarkable black metal band. Its leader Kark has his own vision on the genre. It had already been noticed on Dødsengel's debut album. Stylistically it remained black metal, but the approach of songwriting was different from regular black metal. "Visionary" was more diverse in comparison to a lot of other albums, it was more chaotic in the sense of both music and vocals. It wasn't highly technical or polished in terms of production, but it still was elaborate. It sounded dark, what is important in black metal. Only a year passed since the release of the first full-length album, when the second one appeared. And "Mirium Occultum" is more impressive, because it's even more authentic.

On the very first look the album sounds like pretty common black metal, as its opener "Azonei Wyrdwalker" is generally fast and based on characteristic for black metal riffing with drumming. Still it's a quality piece of black metal. The composition carries a disturbing mood. The vocal performance is the thing, which stands out. Kark demonstrates not a regular way of screaming, an expressive one, but not a high-pitched shrieking, while it still sounds piercing. The album has only one more "common sounding" black metal composition, which is "A Word to Conquer the Aeon". Yet again the vocals make it special. Kark performs clean in an anguished way on the most intense episodes of the track. "A Word to Conquer the Aeon" carries quite tragic moods and clean vocals underline them.

So, other compositions are more specific. "Evocation of Amezarak" is an almost 20-minute epic, which literally looks like an evocation. It has multiple changes of themes and tempo. The starting episodes sound as if they prepare for something grandiose. And the least thing eventually appears, there are absolutely dramatic melodies in the culmination of the composition. The range of vocal performance is much wider on "Evocation of Amezarak", than it was before. It variates from a kind of desperate yelling, caustic shrieking and powerful growling to crying and hysterical laughter. Yes, Kark's artistry deserves a huge admiration. On the following "Alor mal ki" Kark's vocals again become a highlight, when he provides a grotesque inhuman gurgling. This makes the composition especially obscure.

The first four tracks are great, while the last one is the greatest. "Lucifer Ascendant" is a pure ritual. Darkness reaches its highest point here. The lyrics is a repeating spell, which is presented by clean chanting. The instrumental part fits such style. The composition is slow, the riffs are dissonant, they put in a trance. There's some tremolo picking, which brings the gloom. Kark chants just like a possessed. Thus, a quite ritualistic record finishes with a literal ritual, which sounds demoniacal. After all the obscurity it's a truly mind-blowing way to finish the album. And only one thing remains to conclude the description of "Mirium Occultum" - this work is an outstanding piece of black metal.

Vangard of the New Necro - 85%

joethecabdriver, June 4th, 2011

You would think that black metal would be dead by now. You would think that it would have remained a strange anomoly from the early 90's, a sub-genre amongst sub-genres, forever remaining stuck in it's own singular conventions; an adherence to three chord nihilism stilting it's growth.

But that never happened. Upon further study, black metal was really just too weird, too unformed, to simply molder in the tomb. It's very existence suggests experimentation. It really was just a form of ambient music, at least when the Norwegians unleashed their formations upon the unsuspecting. And as a genre, it has been expanded upon and multiplied, sub genres forming out of sub genres, each mutation subtly altering the soundscape.

And over 20 years later, the Norwegians are still on the vangard, breathing new life into a form that has every right to be a rotting corspe. Take Dødsengel new album, Mirium Occultum, for instance. Currently the darlings of the underground, these necrofiends find new ground for their gravework. This is a dank, echoy scream from the crypt, a true demon conjuring.

The album recalls Mayhem at their best and also the new wave of American audio fiendry like Leviathan and Xasthur, but it really is hard to put your finger on what makes this album work. Perhaps it's how the raw production values lower your expectations. You really are getting a raw black metal experience, but one with so much subtle variety and layers. The guitars are layed on thick and bloody, with hints of gentleness in the quieter parts, the bass a distant rumble. The drums are a crisp racket, with much fine cymbal work. The vocalist is a evocotive screamer, applying a variety of shrieks, bellows, murmurs and even a few plaintive cries from the abyss. Evocation of Amezarak is the centerpiece of the album, a nearly 20 minutes musical invocation of darkness, that doesn't come across as a formless jam.

Also, the lyrics are a pleasant surprise, poetic and chilling, but not without humor. A Word To Conquer the Aeon contains this gem, delivered with an evil smirk:

"In the beginning was the word,
and the word was with god.
And the word was the word,
what a wonderfull word it was!"


later declaring,

"And the word is NIHIL"

This album is not all perfection, as the songs tend to blur into one another, almost too intense for a single listen. But for the most part, this is state of the art black metal, containing everything that is true and cvlt about the genre without decending into cliche.

http://thesocietyforexcellenceinheavymetal.blogspot.com/2011/06/ddsengel-mirium-occultum2010.html

Faith reinforced - an instant BM classic - 100%

gerrobbo, April 16th, 2010

Every now and then an album comes along that literally knocks me out. Despite all the nostalgic shite that's written about the good old days, Black metal is stronger than it has ever been, with more diversity and more quality than ever before. Admittedly, some of the sub-subgenres are suspect to say the least, but overall black metal is in a wonderfully healthy state.

But you won't find the true quality on big labels or in your local record store. Remember, this is underground music and - no matter how much certain individuals try to cash in on it - BM will always blossom in the nether regions of the UG. Those prepared to dig deepest will get the richest rewards. Bear in mind that if you read a review in Terrorizer or Zero Tolerance, chances are you are being mis-led. Pretty much every printed magazine has a reciprocal relationship with certain labels - "they take ads in our mag, we give their releases good reviews." It's pretty dishonest, actually (and one of the reasons why I hardly write anymore myself). Same applies to webzines - they send us free promos so we'll say they are fucking fantastic. The hype machine is in full swing and it's all PR drivel designed to shove the latest mainstream concoction down your throat. Well I say - shove it back up their asses!

The ONLY way you'll ever find truly great black metal is to trawl the underground for yourself. That way you'll come across bands like Onirik, Lunar Aurora, The Ruins of Beverast, Ride For Revenge and Dødsengel. Quality releases that are not advertised; music that speaks for itself; released on small labels with honest intent and integrity.

I have listened to thousands of albums over the past 20 years and I can honestly say I've never heard a better one than "Mirium Occultum". Take it from me: this is an absolute classic. It comes from nowhere and epitomises everything that's so special about this strain of extreme music. It's harsh, shrill, evil, nasty, creepy, menacing and perfectly executed. The production is absolutely perfect as it allows everything to breathe without being overly-polished and the songs themselves are masterpieces, each and every one.

This is black metal the way it should be and it is surely no coincidence that this foul entity rears its ugly head in Norway. Raw yet accessible, "Mirium Occultum" is as emotional and atmospheric as it is unnerving and downright filthy. The use of melody is genius as everything is washed away in a sea of dissonance and anger. This is an album that has everything from a band that has topped Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist and Clandestine Blaze in one fell swoop. And, believe me, I do not pen these words lightly.

I almost feel guilty for exposing this hidden gem as the work of art it is. It's so good it deserves to remain lost in the underground forever. Probably the best album I own. If you only buy one more CD before topping yourself, make sure it's "Mirium Occultum". Nobody could regret owning this.