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Black Rust (2014)

Black Rust is the latest experiment in dissonant, obscure black metal from Swedish oddities Orcultus. The band plays truly pitch black, miserable, raw black metal which some of us demented folk grew accustomed to during the Norwegian wave all those years ago. So, fans of Horna, Judas Iscariot et al take note, because this’ll be right up your snowy alley.

This new demo tape features seven harsh, obscure black metal passages, beginning with the primeval discordance of ‘Purifying Plague’ with its barking orders, grim percussion and distant guitar scathing which when melted together comes across as the bleak, wintry echoes of hate one would expect from such an unhinged team of nocturnal recluses. The mocking fever continues with the clanking title track and its clamorous opening clatter, only to be followed by that recessive metallic chug of bleakness.

Bands of this ilk were two a penny back in the day, but it’s still great to hear a tried and tested sound of vociferous nature still working for some. Orcultus clearly has its deathly white finger on the pulse when it comes to constructing miserable acts from the black metal crypt, each track existing as a mere barbed murmur behind a blanket of freezing fog and driving blizzard, only occasionally hinting at some sort of melody before it is trampled into the ice by a deluge of inharmonious evil.

The nightly whine of ‘Cold & Silent’ takes on the form of some funereal march into forests of gloom; the percussion is arrogant as it strides across the wastes, while the thread of pallid guitar explores the nether regions of the mist. Orcultus presents a sense of the epic but remains all too distant and unclear to allow us near, and as ‘Filled With Flies’ comes racing by and leaves slash marks across the face due to its bitter quality, I realise just how much I crave such frosted gleams.

The lumbering ‘Plague And Starvation’ is black metal at its most horrendously arrogant; those barking sneers sound like some feasting crow squabbling with an equally hungry competitor for food, while ‘The Void’ sprawls out like some landscape of rotten carcasses picked off by swarming vultures, the whole image built upon a sparse guitar buzz and clanking din of drum. The final gasp of horror emerges in the form of ‘World Destroyer’, which – as expected – continues the scornful remoteness, only hinting at what terror lurks behind the curtain of winter.

The true feeling left behind by Orcultus is one that rarely pervades the ears anymore, but it is the same sense of dread that suffused the soul upon the Norwegian wave of blackness. Once again, it is mighty fine to be inundated with such chilling misery. Truly abysmal, in the nicest possible way of course!

The Black Rust demo cassette is available from Forever Plagued Records here.

Neil Arnold

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