Get ready to have your sinful soul dragged to hell by this Portuguese Blackened Death Metal outfit to the sound of their infernal sophomore opus.
The result of loss and sacrifice, the culmination of pain, and absolute detachment from life, O.M.E.N., or Omnis Malum Et Noceo, which translates from Latin as “everything evil and harmful”, is the sophomore opus by Lisbon, Portugal-based Black/Death Metal horde Okkultist, representing the band’s strongest effort since their inception in 2016 and, consequently, a huge step forward in the career of one of the most interesting names of the current Portuguese scene. The journey of an obsolete sense of desperateness from walking out of the void weighting us down that is depression, into the high state of spiritual healing, O.M.E.N. has everything a diehard fan of Blackened Death Metal desires and more, showcasing the undeniable talent and passion for the occult by vocalist, lyricist and visionary Beatriz Mariano, lead guitarist and co-founder Leander Sandmeier, rhythm guitarist João Corceiro (who by the way pre-produced the album), bassist David J. Rodrigues and drummer Eduardo Sinatra, all of them more than ready to drag your sinful soul to the pits of hell.
The title-track O.M.E.N. feels like the band is summoning evil spirits from the underworld (“In Nomine Dei Nostri Satanas / Luciferi Excelsi / Ave”), resulting in a very extensive intro that opens the gates of hell for Okkultist to attack our senses with Death to Your Breed, where the Melodic Death and Black Metal drums by Eduardo create a rumbling ambience for the witch-like roars by Beatriz, providing us with everything we love in extreme music, being fast, furious, heavy and absolutely evil. The band continues to fire their acid fusion of Death and Black Metal in Meet Me in Hell, inviting us all to bang our heads nonstop to the devilish, piercing riffs by Leander and João; whereas the hellish sound of their guitars permeate the air in Blood on Satan’s Claw, bringing to our ears four minutes of undisputed heaviness and obscurity. And in Demonic Warfare we face another round of first-class Black and Death Metal spearheaded by the inhumane roars by Beatriz while Eduardo dictates the pace with his pounding drums, not to mention the striking solos by Leander.
9th Layer of the Abyss is a song that can be considered Okkultist’s ultimate black mass, taking us on a one-way journey to the pits of the netherworld while Eduardo brings forward sheer doom through his slow and steady beats; whereas back to a more infuriated mode, this unstoppable horde will darken our minds with the brutality and harmony found in Thy Blood, Thy Flesh, Thy Sacrifice, showcasing once again striking riffs and solos, devilish blast beats, and the always mesmerizing she-demon gnarls by Beatriz. Then in loving memory of the one and only Alexi Laiho (RIP), it’s time for their rendition of Children of Bodom’s hit Sixpounder (check out the original one HERE) from their 2003 critically acclaimed album Hate Crew Deathroll, presenting a fantastic job done by the entire band from start to finish. Lastly, closing the album we’re invited to slam into the pit one last time to the sound of Crimson Ecstasy, with Beatriz growling viciously while David’s bass and Eduardo’s drums make the earth tremble in the name of Extreme Metal. In addition, not even the unnecessary lengthy silence at the end of the song (before one final invocation of around one minute comes up) ruins the track’s overall quality. I wonder if they had to release an album with over 40 minutes of duration as requested by their record label, and that was their way of doing it.
The caustic and thrilling O.M.E.N., which is available in all of its glory on YouTube and on Spotify, and on sale from the Alma Mater Records’ BandCamp page and webstore, as well as from Apple Music (or you can click HERE for links to the album and all other things Okkultist), will certainly open countless doors worldwide for the band, and you can also show them your support and admiration by following them on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube. “Dark times exist so we can harness that power through them, and rise above anything or anyone that has tried to put us down. This album is for YOU – YOU who have survived through the worst of your days, YOU who didn’t know what to do when things got tough, YOU who’ve felt hopeless, blind, beaten up, not knowing where you have to be in life. You are not alone. Take this album, and use its strength to show you how endless your inner power is. It’s all in your hands,” commented Beatriz about their newborn spawn, an album that will feature among the best hailing from Portugal this year hands down.
Best moments of the album: Death to Your Breed, Meet Me in Hell, Thy Blood, Thy Flesh, Thy Sacrifice and, obviously, Sixpounder.
Worst moments of the album: None, except for the length of the first track and the extensive silent break of the last track.
Released in 2023 Alma Mater Records
1. O.M.E.N. 4:00
2. Death to Your Breed 3:24
3. Meet Me in Hell 4:31
4. Blood on Satan’s Claw 4:05
5. Demonic Warfare 4:33
6. 9th Layer of the Abyss 4:13
7. Thy Blood, Thy Flesh, Thy Sacrifice 4:05
8. Sixpounder (Children of Bodom cover) 3:26
9. Crimson Ecstasy 10:12
Beatriz Mariano – vocals
Leander Sandmeier – lead guitars
João Corceiro – rhythm guitars
David J. Rodrigues – bass
Eduardo Sinatra – drums