"Death Sigils"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Anybody remember the British band Sacrilege? Not the thrashers from British Columbia, but the English band fronted by banshee girl Tam Simpson? If you do, then you'll recognize where Occultist is coming from. Sacrilege was way ahead of its time, playing a pulverizing mix of crusty d-beat, murky doom and Venom-ish thrash. The unique thing about Sacrilege were the female vocals of Tam...not growls or roars,  but obviously feminine and very angry. I think Tam has found her reincarnation in Occultist's Kerry, who lends the same kind of approach to this Virginia band's corrosive assault.

Like Sacrilege, Occultist play extreme metal with a crusty, punky flavor. At first, they sound like a straight up ripping d-beat band on "Iron Distort", complete with Kerry's raw but clear screams. That track is a little misleading, because Occultist vary their style quite a bit over "Death Sigils" without losing their underlying grime. There's room for doomier riffs as in "Devil's Breath"  and "Towers of Silence", there's something cold and even melodic going on in the title track, and there's just flat-out holocaust in "A Hell For The Innocent" and "Ritual Blast". Throughout the whole shebang, Occultist ladles on the sonic slime in nice, big scoops while Mistress Kerry mainttains more anger and spite than a young lady is usually deemed capable of.

The result is something that could have almost been the follow-up to Sacrilege's "Behind the Walls of Madness". If you're looking for stripped down, in your face music with no pretension, Occultist will float your boat pretty well. This is available from the aptly named Primitive Ways Records.