Ocultan is a Brazilian horde that, whether you, the reader, like their work or not, must recognize as one of the most serious and respectable bands in our scene. Their new album, the eleventh in their discography, to be exact, titled “Trevas,” captures the essence of a group that has chosen to follow its own rules and go against the grain of the entire scene by adopting their religious ideology, in this case, Quimbanda, as both lyrical and visual themes. A courageous act that has made them the first band to address such a topic in the global extreme metal scene.
The album begins with the introduction “Primordial Chaos,” featuring hypnotic riffs and a claustrophobic atmosphere. Personally, I appreciate this type of intro, as it is often used as an opening for live shows, for example. “Trevas,” the title track, showcases a classic side of Ocultan, and an undeniable truth: Count Imperium, the sole original member and founder of the band, is the best vocalist the band has ever had. In this track, the sinister and diabolical spectrum he reaches definitively elevates him to the position of one of the best vocalists in the genre in Brazil. While some may hail a previous vocalist as part of the “classic lineup,” make no mistake—this is the definitive lineup of Ocultan. Speaking of vocalists, one is sheer brute force, while the other truly conjures infernal forces with every fiber of his being. To me, the comparison is akin to Marduk’s Legion and Mortuus. The guitar riffs are cold, and Lady Of Blood does superb work throughout all the tracks. The conclusion of this song brings an apocalyptic and cinematic feeling that I really enjoyed.
In “King Of Winds,” Count Imperium and Lady Of Blood once again demonstrate that they are the driving force behind Ocultan, delivering a strong and memorable composition with deep vocals and pure Black Metal riffs. “Tears Of Fire” is the album’s single, accompanied by a beautiful promotional video. A paced sound that showcases the versatility of these musicians, earning a point for Ocultan.
“Ceifador” is a song that, for me, complements the beautiful cover of this album, as it depicts an image that seems to be death itself coming to collect the haunted souls. It follows a similar cadence as the previous track, bringing heavyness and variation to the tracklist. “Evolution” is a fast track in Ocultan’s characteristic style, and Lady Of Blood unveils one of the best riffs of the album in the middle of the song, even incorporating some Death Metal influence, in my view.
“Memories From The Past” is one of the highlights of the album, with its climatic and sinister sound—a sonic embodiment of pure malevolence. Absolutely incredible. At the end, there’s a re-recording of “Lembranças Do Mal…a Crucificação,” brutal and uncompromising, functioning like a nail in the head of the fallen Nazarene.
The outro, “End Times,” concludes with the aforementioned cinematic atmosphere. Undoubtedly a standout in Ocultan’s discography, showcasing them as one of the most formidable Black Metal formations in their country, having released two of the best albums of 2023 on my list: “Trevas” and their new live album “Rites Of Sitra Ahra,” both released by Hammer Of Damnation and available at the Black Metal Store. Demonstrating a proud Ocultan, reflecting on their past, aiming for evolution, and envisioning a glorious future, “Trevas” is pure raw Black Metal, a must-listen for all maniacs.
*REVIEW MADE BY J. GOREHEAD