Occultation | ‘Silence In The Ancestral House’
Album Of The Month Oct 2014
I never thought I’d see the day. An occult, esoteric metal band literally drowning in the sound and tone of the real underground, redolent of so many classic bands yet sounding entirely like themselves.
Well, not entirely – and that’s part of their charm.
Imagine for a brief moment early Siouxsie Sioux (say ‘Hong Kong Garden’) laying her bewitched vocals over riffs that Candlemass had left over from ‘Epicus Doomicus Metallicus’ and you’re basically there.
Yet almost immediately in opening track ‘The First Of The Last’ there is much, much more.
As if the above heady cocktail wasn’t enough, the track breaks, as if from nowhere, into THE most amazing take on ‘Spiritual Healing’-era Death worship I’ve heard in years. It’s just the guitars, it’s the drum shuffle, the hi-hat fizz and the whole vibe. Except not the whole vibe – and therein lies this band’s genius.
Those are just three of the influences on here that you’d never have thought would work together. Yet they do, and beautifully. It would be remiss of course not to pick up on the Jex Thoth connections in here (musically), which is a treat given how rapidly into boredom that band went. Yes it’s ‘cult’ sounding, but only because of those diabolus in musica progressions and the dousing in reverb that the whole thing enjoys.
The songcraft and musicianship are here in spades though, all expressed through a true, almost 60s style of production that lets the music breathe out its smoke with ease and space.
And you know it’s funny just how heavy a band can get without even using a double kick – ‘The Place Behind The Sky’ somehow sounds furiously intense with merely a beat here and there on the drums. It’s a strange paradox.
That song’s crowning glory is its chorus, which in truth is just pure ‘Gothic’ by Paradise Lost done slightly differently, but which is fantastic for it. Plus its speedy section with that bell-ride cymbal tinkling along is just trouncing.
This is an album all about tone, mood, enjoyment and exquisitely realised atmosphere. It’s the real thing – such a rare commodity these days, in which a band knows exactly how to communicate what they’re all about.
They’re like the anti-Ghost: a band who really do revel in a certain supernatural vibe, conjuring the psych and occult rock of the 60’s and 70’s, but who actually mean what they’re doing and bust their backsides musically in the process.
Each track is vital, and there is barely any filler. The whole piece is gracefully set off by wonderful artwork as you can see, bearing a bit of a similarity to the recent Morbus Chron release as well – another killer gem.
It’s just so timeless sounding and so uninterrupted by the plasticity of modern metal that you really should make every effort to hear it as a potent dose of Real Music. It’s got atmosphere, vibes, tones and chops to die for. Do not miss it, and well done to Invictus for picking them up.
4.3 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 07/10/14