MANDATORY PURCHASE ALERT! This is one of the only reviews I wrote for Metal Archives during my ‘disillusioned period’. The reason why I penned it was simple: I had bought an album that deserved to be heard by as many people as possible. Dødsengel is one of the most amazing bands to come out of Norway in the past 20 years and ‘Mirium Occultum‘ is their best work so far, though the ‘Arkaik‘ MC and ‘Alongside Choronzon‘ MLP are also exceptional in their own rights…
Every now and then an album comes along that literally knocks me out. Despite all the nostalgic shite that’s written about the good old days, Black Metal is stronger than it has ever been, with more diversity and more quality than ever before. Admittedly, some of the sub-subgenres are suspect to say the least, but overall Black Metal is in a wonderfully healthy state.
But you won’t find the true quality on big labels or in your local record store. Remember, this is underground music and – no matter how much certain individuals try to cash in on it – BM will always blossom in the nether regions of the UG. Those prepared to dig deepest will get the richest rewards. Bear in mind that if you read a review in Terrorizer or Zero Tolerance, chances are you are being mis-led. Pretty much every printed magazine has a reciprocal relationship with certain labels – “they take ads in our mag, we give their releases good reviews.” It’s dishonest, actually (and one of the reasons why I hardly write anymore myself). Same applies to webzines – ‘they send us free promos so we’ll say they are fucking fantastic’. The hype machine is in full swing and it’s all PR drivel designed to shove the latest mainstream concoction down your throat. Well I say – shove it back up their asses!
The ONLY way you’ll ever find truly great Black Metal is to trawl the underground for yourself. That way you’ll come across bands like Onirik, Lunar Aurora, The Ruins of Beverast, Ride For Revenge and Dødsengel. Quality releases that are not advertised; music that speaks for itself; released on small labels with honest intent and integrity.
I have listened to thousands of albums over the past 20 years and I can honestly say I’ve never heard a better one than ‘Mirium Occultum‘. Take it from me: this is an absolute classic. It comes from nowhere and epitomises everything that’s so special about this strain of extreme music. It’s harsh, shrill, evil, nasty, creepy, menacing and perfectly executed. The production is absolutely perfect as it allows everything to breathe without being overly-polished and the songs themselves are masterpieces, each and every one.
This is Black Metal the way it should be and it is surely no coincidence that this foul entity rears its ugly head in Norway. Raw yet accessible, ‘Mirium Occultum‘ is as emotional and atmospheric as it is unnerving and downright filthy. The use of melody is genius as everything is washed away in a sea of dissonance and anger. This is an album that has everything; a band that has topped Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist and Clandestine Blaze in one fell swoop. And, believe me, I do not pen these words lightly.
I almost feel guilty for exposing this hidden gem as the work of art it is. It’s so good it deserves to remain lost in the underground forever. Probably the best album I own. If you only buy one more CD before topping yourself, make sure it’s ‘Mirium Occultum’. Nobody could regret owning this.