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Dysylumn - Occultation - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, August 13th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Egregor Records (Digipak)

Here we got another example of inspiring French extreme metal. Dysylumn are a two men band with “Occultation” being their second full length album after their debut “Conceptarium” in 2015. They play a creepy and highly atmospheric mixture of (mainly) black and death metal with a few elements from doom and progressive thrown into the mix for good measure.

The typical tremolo picks and the pummeling blasts can be found here as well building the basis of Dysylumn’s music. While each black/death metal band puts a lot of emphasis on building a sinister atmosphere these guys have gone even a bit further compared to their peers. I would not go as far as labelling this album as atmospheric or post black metal as the main focus is still on the riffs and the relentless drum attacks but there are a lot of desperate and haunting harmonies dwelling in the background. Eerie themes presented by the lead guitar are always present – sometimes more subtle and in other places as leading elements defining certain parts of the song.

Beside the spectacular guitar work also the rhythm section has to be mentioned. The drumming is precise following the main patterns of each song and highlighting several sections where an extra portion of intensity is needed. Most of the time it is kept pretty laid-back underlining the stoic and sometimes even doomy nature of the music. “Occultation” for sure is not an album for showing off any instrumental wankery but presenting a stringent piece of music dragging the listener into a dark and melancholic world. The soundscape created by the themes in the background is very sinister and works as basement for the riffing and the hard hitting grooves.

What surprised me the most while listening to “Occultation” is the professional level of the songwriting. Each of the songs has a clear structure and Dysylumn managed to make the single tracks memorable without sounding fluffy or simplistic. There is a good portion of rhythm and tempo changes but overall the songs follow a clear and stringent structure. The soloing parts are well implemented and never overstay their welcome. Relentless riff attacks are interchanging with ambient pieces giving the whole thing kind of a hypnotic feeling. Epic guitar melodies are always present in the background lending each song a special character.

The vocals are fierce and evil with the singer’s tone having a real recognition value. He is barking and growling and screaming like a dog of war ramping up the intensity of the album even more. It is not so easy to judge death/black metal vocals as they are most of the time mainly about sounding as aggressive and evil as possible but what I can say without hesitation is that his style is perfectly fitting the music. Add to all this a transparent production job giving each instrument enough room to breathe without burying any detail in the mix and we got a clear winner here.