I really have no idea why Osculum Infame signed to supreme-wimp/loser
label Mordgrimm. They are too much of an impressive band to be stuck in
a label that will attempt to treat them like a commodity...but I am
probably wrong, so no matter. This is the band's first CD, and the most
mainstream of any of their releases. I've never heard their first demo,
but the two following that were most excellent raw black metal with
loads of atmosphere. This on the other hand is soaked and synth.
Is it good though? Yes! Actually, it's really quite impressive. This has
strangely enough turned into one of my favourite releases from this
year. Although the demos were much more underground in sound, OI have
kept the hateful and cranky feel of those earlier releases, mixed with
additional keyboards and production. Although I've heard cries of
"sellout" and whatnot from various people, this is not true. The sound
is still quite exceptionally evil and there's no real sections that
would appeal to the general (and mindless) Cradle of Filth groupie
(monetary) foundation of the scene.
The two standout tracks, "Under the Sign of the Beast", and "Whisper of
the Witch" (from their split with Funeral) are actually very addictive.
Yes, addictive, as in they end up being listened to over and over.
"Under the Sign of the Beast" starts with some sombre keyboard work, and
then moves into an exceptionally well done "triumphant" beat. The
musical sections here are quite catchy actually, and are wonderfully
filled with emotion, something a good deal of bands have forgotten about
it seems. On the other hand, "Whisper of the Witch", even though having
lost it's original raw and fuzzy production, is still quite hateful
sounding. Somewhat fast paced and filled with painful screams, and
really well done.
I would have improved on a few things though. The first being the
vocals, which have become somewhat flat sounding. They don't seem to be
quite as pushed as they once were, although that could possibly be
blamed on the production. The next is the lack of a solid guitar sound.
It sticks out nicely in a few tracks, but is generally lost in a wave of
fuzz in exchange for the synth work. That's really it though! I highly
recommend picking this near-masterpiece up. Osculum Infame are a group
that can be heavily respected for their great music, and also for their
proud ideological beliefs. They are not a pathetic lot of individuals,
like so many that fill today's scene. Rather, they are an excellent band
that create excellent music. A diamond in a scene filled with so much
© 1997 brand