Occult - Elegy For The Weak 2004 Candlelight Records / Karmageddon Media reviewed by: EC
1. Disturbing the Dead 2. Nuclear Torment 3. Nocturnal Predator 4. Feel the Blade 5. Expire 6. Warbeast 7. Obsessed by The Grave 8. Slaughtering the Pigs 9. Reaper's Call 10. Slut of Sodom 11. Until The Battle (Bonus Track)
It seems like a ton of bands right now are playing this aggressive hybrid of thrash, death, and black metal. With the likes of Terror 2000, The Crown, Decapitaed, and Lamb Of God, folks are starting to become very numb to it all. Certainly there are plenty of quality bands out there playing this sort of thing, but at some point you have to just stop and think to yourself, when is enough truly enough. I think at that point, production is really the key to a band's long term staying power. Some of the bands playing this particular style will simply be ignored or overlooked because of bad production values, while others will gain a huge following because their albums "sound" far superior to the lower tier groups.
I think Holland's Occult fit snugly in the tier of highly produced bands certain to make huge strides in becoming commercially accepted. "Elegy For The Weak" is a supersonic freight train, smashing and annihilating everything on the tracks. With eleven slabs of no-nononsense, balls to the wall style thrash, complete with some of the best production in the business, Occult find themselves at a good starting point to make waves in other markets with their newest record. Now is the time and place for this type of music, and this is the perfect mid-era album for these veterans to finally break new ground.
"Elegy For The Weak" marks the sixth album from this black-thrashing outfit, and the group's first major attempt at crossing the Atlantic into more wealthy avenues of distribution. Candlelight Records USA have picked the band up, and helped them to deliver a modern album filled with over-the-top thrash rumblings in the same vein as Slayer, but breaking into more aggressive styles of play, on par with groups like Panzerchrist and The Haunted. Bringing in producer Andy Classen (Dew-Scented) has done a world of good for Occult. This new album burns with intensity and force, adding a megadose of groove and stomp to this band's well calculated formula of thrashing for thrashing's sake.
Think of the Bay Area thrash bands of the 80s (Exodus comes to mind) seeded in the top-soil of Morbid Angel, and fertilized with the new wave of American heavy metal, and you get "Elegy For The Weak". But along with the production change for the band, Occult have a changing of the guard at the mic stand. Previous vocalist Rachel Heyzer has left the fold to concentrate on her work with Sinister, so guitarist Maurice Swinkels has stepped in to take over vocal responsibilties. His voice fits Occult's thrash style, as his vocals soaks up the mid 80s thrash vibe of groups like Sodom and Kreator. With ragers like "Feel The Blade", "Slaughtering The Pigs", and "Reapers Call", the band take this type of music to new heights. With Classen's sharp, crisp production and Occult's creative, chunky understanding of thrash riffs, "Elegy For The Weak" sets a higher mark for bands of this genre.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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