Released: 2017, Folter Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but listening to MEMORANDUM OCCULTUS, the sophomore full length from the mysterious international collective known as The Committee – me thinks somebody owes Mgla a royalty check. The matching black outfits, the black hoods masking their identities, the pulsating rhythmic shoegaze…it all smells like I’ve seen this movie before.
Derivative as their shtick may be perceived, on its own merit, MEMORANDUM OCCULTUS turns out to be a decent assembly of atmospheric black metal. The formula across the album’s 6 tracks is pretty consistent – multi octave minor key riffs jangled fast and repetitiously until it blurs into a droning hypnosis, interspersed with the occasional melodic intrusion that breaks the trance momentarily, as obscured vocals chant into an echoed distortion. That may be an over simplification of things, but it’s not wrong either.
The hopeful introduction of “Dead Diplomacy”, the up-tempo aggression of “Flexible Facts” and the open remorse of “Intelligent Insanity” are all high points of the album, each managing to embrace the mold that The Committee has built for itself while breaking free from that mold just enough to stand apart. Truth be told, each song on MEMORANDUM OCCULTUS has its own intriguing characteristics, but they tend to carry on too long after the point has already been made. Trim the fat off of each track and you take a good album to great.
The band’s mission statement reads “The Committee is a collaboration of black-doom musicians. History is written by the victors. WE ARE THE VOICE OF THE DEAD!” I love that level of confidence and the band’s desire to build a mythos bigger than themselves. Hopefully they'll push themselves further musically on the next record to merit such an ambitious sentiment.