Monday, October 06, 2014

Occultation: Silence in the Ancestral House (2014)

Stay Occulted

I very much enjoyed the previous Occultation album. My take on that was that it was female-fronted occult rock which actually sounded occult, not just, you know, B-movie style witchy. That’s thanks in no small part to the lead guitars provided by the Negative Plane guitarist. You can imagine, then, that I was pretty excited to get my hands on Silence in the Ancestral House.

Unfortunately, the new album doesn’t live up to my high hopes. The formula hasn’t changed all that much. This time, my early impressions were that it sounds much like Ghost’s first album, but with a strong preference for doom and those crazy lead guitars intact. Which sounds like an awesome idea, but it doesn’t hit the mark.

There are some cool cuts here, like “The Place Behind the Sky.” But elsewhere, they might play with a good idea for a bit before turning to inane dreck. “Forever Hereafter” starts out with a great intro, but then the verse is just monotony with a terrible rhythm, no redeeming melody, and a lackluster performance, jammed on for nearly eight interminable minutes. I should qualify this by saying that there are a few good riffs on the record as well, but the number of bad ones is just too high. And the performance is, almost throughout, just a little too tired. I’d blame the drummer for setting the pace, but that would imply that the rest of the band is following his lead, which isn’t always the case. More likely it’s inadequate rehearsal.

I wouldn’t say avoid-at-all-costs, but perhaps this album should have stayed occulted.

The Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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