Chilean bruisers Occasvs maul metal standards with drama on ‘Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria’

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, like, this week. But there’s a lot of metal out there, much of it very good. I’ve spent nine months discussing all the stuff that’s made an impact on me in 2017, and it’s still tough to keep all those records from getting all tangled up like a pair of abandoned earbuds that somehow tied themselves into a figure four leglock.

That’s definitely not going to be the case with Chilean bruisers Occasvs, whose debut record “Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria” is here to knock those with their guard down into the goddamn dirt. How to classify this band? Well, you get heaps of death and black metal on this seven-track opus, but there’s also orchestral drama and doses of strangeness that keep coming back and stinging you. This band—their Facebook profile lists Nolvz with invocations and storms; Ülmontem as seismic pulse; and Sinn Hayek on ritual drums—isn’t all about convention and coloring within lines. Pretty much from the start, the band smashes any preconceived notions and premonitions made before tackling the record. While heaviness and brutality are served in generous portions, the stuff they do outside the box really is what separates them from most. It’s also possible those elements might keep some people away, but anyone with a sense of open mindedness won’t have an issue.

If you only sample opener “Andante Nocturno Op.7,” then you’re going to get the wrong idea about this band. This 8:48-long cut is basically an extended intro, a track filled with rains falling, sweeping synth, and dramatic orchestration that sounds like it could open a great big fantasy battle scene. it doesn’t scream extreme metal, but it doesn’t need to. Still, it’s a weird way to start. “Triumphal Defeat” then tears the lid off the thing properly, as strong riffs well up and assault, and vicious growls thicken the mud. The guitars whip up a frenzy, while clean calls ring out behind the dust clouds, and the pace mauls. Bellowing vocals, which are a staple for this record, erupt, while guitars rush, and the track fades into night. “Under Human Eyes” is thunderous from the start, as guitars sprawl out, and a chaotic ambiance can be felt underneath your feet. More hearty singing evens out the harshness, and then the band hits a lighting pace that makes it feel like death and classic metal riding high together. From there, the violence only increases, as the song disappears down a hole of wild thrashing. “Psychic Burial” is a quick interlude track that has strange chants, strings bringing eeriness, and unidentified sounds rumbling.

“Ritual Death” blasts from the gates, as the deep singing unloads, and the guitar work starts to lather. The intensity cuts through the song and leaves scars, while the band hits the gas pedal hard, and the riffs scorch flesh. The hefty signing comes back again, rousing the spirits, while destruction is meted out, and the guitars rule the song’s final moments. “Seer” also is violent at the front, pummeling away as monstrous growls peel skin from bone. The pace gets speedy and challenging, but then it slowly brings things to a slower clip, albeit one that’s just as heavy as it was. Acoustics wash in and bring calm, but then things gets started again with throaty growls, a stomping pace, and a crushing conclusion. Closer “Union” begins with horns and bells, sounding like it’s going to be the bookend to the opener. But then the heaviness comes, with waves of Maiden-like melodies swimming beneath the fire, and the vocals pushing forcefully. The guitars run wild and scorch, with the band dealing a clobbering, the melodies boiling, and the track dissolving into a mysteriously dripping haze.

Occasvs metallic world doesn’t look like anyone else’s, which makes their music refreshing and really strange. “Nocturnal Majestic Mysteria” is a record that’s likely going to be a love-it-or-hate-it proposition for a lot of people, but whatever side you land, you must give them credit for their genuine approach and creativity. I know when I’m summing up the year that was 2017, this record is going to stand out as one that tried to take its base elements and turn them into something even bigger.

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