Review Summary: A stunning black metal record from this young German group.
It is a warm, sunny afternoon. The sky is clear and the sun is gentle to the touch. It is so quiet that you could hear a pin drop, at least until you hear a rumble in the distance. There is a crowd outside standing silent in mutual anticipation. Runic banners have been raised high as the gleaming sun reflects upon the emblazoned totenkopfs of the Schutzstaffel. There they march, mute, proud and defiant in their ornate black uniforms. Blue eyes as cold as winter, stoic faces showing no trace of emotion, rifles in arms, the S.S march upon the land to embark upon a journey of great violence to ensure that racial purity will be achieved. The traitorous dogs will be put down.The streets will run deep with the blood of the wicked as the master race will prevail.
"Exterminate" is one of the finest modern black metal albums that I've ever heard. The first full-length from the German death-squad Occult Crypt finds the band playing a heroic form of black metal, encompassing elements of old and new alike with raw aggression, extraordinary songwriting ability and triumphant atmosphere defining it's core concepts. The album, although only twenty five minutes in length wastes no time in bludgeoning your skull with galloping riffs, inspired soloing and abominable vocals. The album displays a defiantly anthemic quality that cannot be quenched, that cannot be beaten, that cannot destroyed even in the face of death. It puts you into the shoes of the Nazis at their grandiose peak. You feel dignified. You feel invincible.
The guitars lead the battle in a stunning display of ferocity and melody. A lot of black metal bands cannot write interesting song patterns to save their lives but Occult Crypt excel on every front. Their foundation is based upon creating catchy, heavy riffs that leave a mark upon your skull like a bloody hammer being swung repeatedly. Tremolo picking is incorporated in a way that makes the music downright sinister. Soloing is also used, adding both artistic flair and emotional depth to the music. The music reeks of an atmosphere that is divided between melancholy and ecstasy. It's a stark contrast that uniquely benefits the music.
Vocals alternate between the death and black metal spectrum. There are snarls and growls being performed in a vitriolic manner, both equally corrosive and manic. These styles come off as sounding particularly evil, contributing greatly to the atmosphere and aggression of the record. Audio soundbites and distinct martial industrial influences are also incorporated through the recording which helps further exemplify the ominous mood.
Another strong aspect of "Exterminate" is the rhythm section, particularly the percussion. The drums are violent and abrupt, much like a blitzkrieg being performed in action. The marital industrial influence rears it's head up strongest in this respect. In the intros of "Nebelwerfer" and "As The Machine Rolled On" you are greeted with militaristic chugging and bleak ambience that leads you to believe that something bad is going to happen. Bass is kind of lost in all of the bedlam of "Exterminate" but I'm not really too concerned about that.
The beauty of this record is that it sounds nothing like it's 2010 counterparts. With the muddy production, the hateful atmosphere and the festering aggression one would think that this was a long lost 90's tape. "Exterminate" isn't however, nor is it some trendy retro album attempting to molest the malevolent spirit of true black metal. There is no false pretense, there is no posturing here. No goofy band pictures or hypocritical doctrines. What you're left with is a scathing, intricate piece of black metal in it's most dynamic form. An album this creative simply needs to be heard by any legitimate black metal enthusiast. I don't care what your personal beliefs are, throw them to the side. As you should anytime you listen to black metal really.