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The eternal return - 82%

Lord_Jotun, September 15th, 2003

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.