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The most equilibrated and richest Yyrkoon - 90%

Milo, February 4th, 2007

Yyrkoon’s thrid evolutionary step and apogee. Here, the band decides to tackle a style which is different of everything they’ve ever done: On their first album, “Oniric Transition”, the idea was to propose an innovative, inspiring take on thrash metal by developing an abstract and torrid atmosphere, largely based on keyboards. “Dying Sun” saw a more traditionalistic approach, based on heavy metal/thrash, while retaining some elements of its predecessor. Now, “Occult Medicine” unleashes all of the band’s potential in form of the most powerful death metal you’ve ever experienced.

Although it’s not as experimental or doesn’t try to create atmosphere as Oniric Transition, OM is far away from your everyday slam death metal and is successful at representing the album’s concept (it’s based on the Re-Animator series). The coldness of the best horror movies can be witnessed through the morbid riffs and their melodies. The harsher riffs are effective at enforcing the album’s concept, be via some high-pitched “effect” riffs that sound like an alert to the imminent danger or via the stomping, rock-solid rhythms which are predominatingly midpaced. “Revenant Horde” even showcases a slight black metal influence. I also like how the album allies lively melodies to the ever-present heaviness. Some bands just don't have that sensibility and the melodic character doesn't convey any emotion at all or ends up contradicting a band's style. That's not the case here: Although OM is rich and layered, it's also very coherent.

The best of it all is the careful production job. This album would be a total waste if it had that same saddening excuse for guitar tone which plague otherwise good albums like “The Adventures of Borghul Torkain” by the band of same name or the recent “Leading Vision” by Gorod. These albums lost a good deal of their impetus and liveliness. But no, OM sounds volumous: The guitars attack with conviction, the drums are implacable, the melodies don’t show a sign of timidness. Harder to explain, there is that intrinsic factor which allows the band to sound like a band. Just listen to any of the above mentioned albums before OM. A good adjective for this album would be “colorful”.

Yet another important point here is the drum performance by none other that Dirk Verbeuren, which is probably my favorite drummer and one of the best in metal. His style can be discreet or more dominant, both approaches with great results. OM shows a very participative and accurate performance, which definitively isn’t a synonym for “leashed”: The way he interacts with the riffs is excellent and his double kicking sounds so good as the first time you’ve listened to double-kick drums (do you remember when you used to think double-kick was all the rage?). His performance doesn’t apply dissonance or oddball tempos: It has enough variation and dynamics, unlike overly fragmented albums like “Identisick”.

“Occult Medicine” is death metal in great form. It allies heaviness and atmosphere to create a remarkable experience, using real musical capability. All ini all, this album represents Yyrkoon’s best moment and is another good example of well-done death metal.