Label: Willowtip Records
Lecherous Nocturne have been around for just over twenty years now, and in that time, they have been trying to expand upon the possibilities of what brutal and technical death metal can do and be. They haven’t always been successful in those attempts, but it’s hard not to admire such ambition. Now on album number four, with Occultaclysmic they have recorded the album they have previously hinted at being capable of. Rather than completely reinventing their old Suffocation-inspired sound, they have instead modified it, adding the kind of nightmare atmospherics of Incantation and Portal. It’s a very effective combination of sounds, and makes Occultaclysmic their best album to date.
Fans of previous albums need not despair; this is still recognisable of the Lecherous Nocturne of old. But there is now an added sense of song-craft, of the tracks as actual songs rather than collections of riffs and movements. What’s interesting is that they have overcome this age-old challenge whilst also adding the aforementioned new elements to their sound. This is most notable on the title track and ‘Tower of Silence’, where the band really bring those discordant, mind-melting structures and guitar patterns to the fore, whilst also possessing a sense of personality and direction distinct from their bigger name peers. Whilst Portal seem to be hell-bent on writing songs that reduce the listener to a puddle of gibbering mass (and I say this as a fan of said band), Lecherous Nocturne are creating something that is more clearly recognisable as human, powered by riffs rather than atmosphere.
Not that the quality of such songs may be apparent on first listen. Occultaclysmic is still a headfuck a technical death metal, with few moments of respite or obvious hooks to latch on to. That’s not to say that it’s an album lacking in contrast though, with interlude track ‘Remembrance’ halfway through the record providing an excellent counter-point to the unfolding chaos, both sonically and texturally, with its sweeping piano lines that contrast well with its blasting drums and guitar lines.
Aside from that though, Occultaclysmic is a maelstrom of technical death metal, summoning chaos from the beyond and unleashing it in devastating fashion. It is hard not to be won over by its incredible power and brutal nature, and that this is achieved whilst still having distinct songs is a remarkable achievement.