So, you are a hard-working musician with a long career releasing records for your own band and some side projects. What else can you do with your time, write some books, produce some wine after all you are Portuguese? Well the next step in doing what you should certainly have experience in is set up your own record label and that is exactly what Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell has done. You possibly guessed that by the record labels name. Reinventing Evil by Portuguese group Okkultist is the first release on the label and no doubt Fernando has some more home-grown talent lined up on his roster for the future. That out the way, let’s concentrate on the band themselves. This is their debut album following on from a 5 track EP a couple of years ago and probably a first taste for many outside their home country.
It’s quickly evident that this is galloping thrashy blackness done the old way and that Okkultist have a particularly potent weapon in singer in Beatriz Mariano. With track titles such as Sniff The Blood and Sign Of The Reaper you probably know roughly what you are going to get here even before pressing play and indeed as you do and the drums plough straight in rolling away and smashing skulls on the title track you probably won’t find evil being particularly reinvented but pummelled out in an all too familiar and comfortable fashion. Beatriz has a thorny and vicious raspy voice and accompanies the thrashing gamut of the four musicians as they snap away, her snarls never changing tone through these 9 numbers but thickly coating the music in the very sign of evil itself. I am reminded a little of Holy Moses at their filthiest along with a bit of Necrodeath as far as the musical delivery is concerned. At first things went a bit over my head in a tried and tested fashion but repeated listens have proven the song-craft opens up with some good groovy motifs, snappy solos and a conviction that can’t help but endear you to it.
There’s something almost primal about numbers such as ‘Back From The Dead’ that takes you back in time to when bands such as Witchery were really delivering the goods and songs which really stuck in your head. I can see this going down well live and looking at press shots the band certainly have the imagery to go with it and no doubt get heads a banging down the front when they deliver these songs live. If you were expecting a carbon copy of Moonspell you certainly will be in for a bit of a surprise although we know that Fernando can deliver some hefty and pulverising stuff himself and lay back on the Gothic romance of things with some pure savagery. The biggest problem with Okkultist though is its nothing new and that album title becomes almost ironic. This is a good 36 minutes of solid black thrash but nothing more and has little in the way of surprises. A cover of Bathory number Satan My Master only goes on to prove this. You get exactly what you expect here and that may well be all your looking for, in which case, jobs a good un.
(7/10 Pete Woods)