Released: 1999, Massacre Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Occult is a totally new name to me. These metalheads hail from the Netherlands, the country with the coolest name. Their third album "Of Flesh and Blood" is quite an impressive offering, combining death and thrash metal very well. The music, most of the time, is just straight-forward brutal thrash while the vocals are a similar to early Deicide or the vocals on Witchery's "Midnight at the Graveyard". They combine low death growls with higher blacked vocals to give that much-desired variety among death vocals. The band actually has two vocalists to do this, one male and one female. Maurice Swinkels performs the tortured death screams while Rachel Heyzer tackles the death grunts. But wait! Don't get turned off by this, because Rachel totally kicks ass! She is by far the best female death vocalist I have heard yet! Listening to the CD without the booklet or case, you would never know it was a female performing those demonic vocals. Very impressive. Music-wise, songs are kept interesting with the use of tempo changes and plentiful riffs. They also incorporate some clean guitars and some great guitar leads which spice things up. These dudes know how to write good songs! And the production sounds excellent. And the band has chosen to stay away from de-tuning their guitars, so their aggressive playing sounds nice and crunchy.
Because this is a totally new band to my ears, I cannot compare this to earlier albums. But "Of Flesh and Blood" is high-quality stuff, and should be of interest to many of you thrash/death fans. Although I was impressed at first, it wasn't enough to really light a fire under my ass. But as I've been listening to the CD more and more, I am really starting to get into them. You should at least give them a listen. These six thrashers are no trend-followers! Visit their web page for more info: http://www.thebitsbyters.demon.nl/occult/