Out from the always fertile Canadian Metal fields, more precisely from the city of Ottawa, arose in 2012 this three piece gang called Occult Burial, including ex-Iron Dogs drummer Dan Lee. They first self-released two demos, then contributed with one track on the 'Evil Spells Volume I' compilation next to such beasts as Throaat, Swamp or Possession (among others), and finally released a new demo (or promo) tape through Stygian Black Hand before signing with Irish Metal stronghold Invictus Productions in order to release this piece of wax I will be speaking about.
The first thing that caught my attention when I read about this record was it's cover. And you know that proverb saying "Do not judge a book by it's cover"? Well, in this case it's absolutely false. What I saw on the cover of this nicely presented vinyl (no news here when it comes to Invictus releases) was mostly clichés; clichés of eighties darkest Metal bands. Spiked armbands, skulls, inverted crosses, chalices, demons, witches, darkness all over, guys closing their hands with their palms upwards like if they had arthritis in their fingers ... All the good stuff.
Indeed, when I first played 'Hideous Obscure', it was just as if I had travelled back in time to the first time I played a few records, and especially two of them: 'Sentence of Death' and 'Bathory'. Same kind of sloppy sound (you know I do not mean it in a negative way), same angry Punked dose of primitive Metal that still reeks of Motörhead and GBH, same groovy Rockin'riffs and same raspy voice which sometimes tends to higher toned screams (this was actually very Teutonic). Nothing new, at all, but man, how much have I missed this kind of raw and deep sound, this unstoppable energy and this dark atmosphere in every Thrash Metal record I've tried to listen to in the last ... 15 years?
When I say nothing new I really mean it, as I could find a lot of very straight resemblances to those two albums and others of the yesteryears of the genre, but this tome I mean it in a positive way (do not takes this as a habit); just take a listen closely to the opening track "Blasted Death", it's pure Destruction, no matter if it's the riffs, fast and savagely aggressive, or the vocals, which are pure Schmier in his younger years. "Occult Burial", the last track of the record, could very well have been a long forgotten recording of the Germans too. On the other hand you have "Ancient Returns", which is pure Bathory devotion, groovy and evil as fuck. "A witch shall be born" is absolute Venom devotion, so I understood why they get compared to Midnight from time to time too. They can go from quite fast and violent songs to more mid-paced and catchy ones, without breaking the great eighties devoted writing aesthetics, using cool rocking guitar leads, some double bass drums to infuse some more heaviness when needed, and a good dose of reverb on the vocals to make them sound more evil.
And yet, does this mean we can't give Occult Burial any mention to anything that isn't bringing back the past? Shouldn't they if I ended playing their record on a daily basis and never got tired of it? If I've been singing their great riffs and choruses after the vinyl stopped turning? Definitely not. 'Hideous Obscure' has everything you need if you want a good dose of ol'Black Metal, maybe not in such an original way as Malokarpatan's first album, and definitely a lot more straight-forward. But it still contains great compositions, and it's definitely well presented on the production side, with the kind of sound you would expect for their style, raw and slightly dirty yet quite distinguishable (in opposition to the dirtier recordings of later Black Metal bands), and not some crappy digital sound ruining it all. They actually sent it to the Enormous Door Studios for the mastering, and it's without any doubt the best decision they could have made for an old-school and punkish sounding record like this one.
You want some evil Metal? You miss the old times? Let some youngsters help you remember instead of listening to the new super-produced records of all those reformed grandpas in search for money.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.