Life for me right now is great and of the many aspects that are so great one would be my recent indulgence with the occult. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient religions and occult teachings. I mean if you’re into Metal then it’s very likely that you will at least find Satanic symbolism appealing. For me however I’ve recently undertaken the reading of various books on the occult and begun to educate myself more upon its histories, meanings and overall spiritual or symbolic importance. It’s nice to now be in a position in life where I have the time to dedicate to reading upon such subjects, having in my past not been one for books at all (ironic given that I’m a reviewer).

Without boring you all to death with my fascinations however we are here today to talk about the international band The Deathtrip. With members in both the UK and Norway there is sure to be an interesting mix of influences. Naturally the Norwegian sound is so integral to the Black Metal movement but then the UK has a lot of deep-seated occult history. The band formed in 2007 and took their time in releasing a debut full length in 2014. Alas this is now to be followed by a sophomore effort entitled Demon Solar Temple which comes to us through Svart Records. How will it fair? Will it be a successful ritual or will it end in untimely self-destructive possession?

The titular opener is a journey of classic and more orthodox Black Metal. Musically it is very guitar driven with dark brooding riffs and then the vocals come through. They are a combination of more traditional rasps and a chanting backing that adds an unholy and spiritual level to the music, although it’s nothing new and I’ve heard other bands do it better. Thankfully Angel Fossils brings more to the vocal palette and almost becomes Watain-like in its delivery, a far more enjoyable track that relies more on aggression and pain than astral forces. Indeed even the cleaner vocal portions are more haunting and hypnotic, it appears everything is on track from here on out.

It would appear that this is the sort of record which you have to progress into. At its start it appears tired, atypical and dull. Yet as we go forth into the midsection of the release via Surrender To A Higher Power and Vintage Telepathy we are taken under The Deathtrip’s spell and are eager to hear more. Each track thereafter becoming a further fall into the arms of the underworld, strangely atmospheric and archaic. Abraxas Mirrors brings a heightened guitar work element to the record with perhaps some of the most memorable riffs the release has to offers, a perfect descent amid the later half of the release keeping things fresh. Fully enveloped in the vortex of The Deathtrip the album comes to a close in the epic and lengthy Awaiting A New Master, a fitting end to be sure.

So in short if you’re expecting something new then this won’t impress you. However if you keep an open mind and allow the album to run its course then you’re sure to find some enjoyable occult Black Metal therein. For me I could take or leave this album, as stated it is hypnotic and it does draw you in but when all is said and done I can think of other albums I would rather indulge in. It fails to tread new ground and equally doesn’t exemplify pre-existing traits of the orthodox Black Metal scene to a high enough degree, good but not good enough.

(6/10 George Caley)