The Ides of March is the date set by Alma Mater Records (the label run by Moonspell’s Fernando Ribeiro) for the release of the first album by a quintet of Portuguese extremists who’ve taken the name Okkultist. Entitled Reinventing Evil, it delivers eight onslaughts of rabid death metal brutality, inspired by such progenitors as Master, Abomination, early Morbid Angel, Death, and Dismember — and today it’s our sadistic pleasure to bring you a stream of the album’s title track.
At the front of Okkultist is growler and screamer Beatriz Mariano, surrounded by lead guitarist Leander Sandmeier, rhythm guitarist Moisés Filho, bassist David Justin, and drummer The Lorke. They chose “Reinventing Evil” as the first sign of what the album holds in store because, as Beatriz tells us, “it’s a punch in the face — a small taste of the pain we have ready to bring you!” And yeah, it really is a powerhouse punch in the face.
The song is undeniably fast and ferocious, propelled by a changing array of neck-wrecking drum rhythms and a rumbling and bounding bass. As the rhythmic patterns change, so do the riffs, which discharge frenzies of skittering and drilling sound, laced with blaring chords and sequences of imperious, eminently headbangable heavy metal hooks. Meanwhile, Beatriz delivers livid, panther-like howls and blood-freezing goblin-esque shrieks, amplifying the music’s sensation of fireball barbarism.
It’s a ravager of a song for sure, one that pulls together elements of thrash, black metal, and old school heavy metal into a framework of death, but the band make the experience even more dynamic by slowing the pace into a lurching stomp, turning the sound into a more dark, sinister, and ominously threatening experience, before ending in one final on-rush of slaughtering.
Reinventing Evil was produced by Pedro Paixão (Moonspell) and the band, tracked at the Poison Apple Studios in Lisbon, and mixed by the veteran Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, Moonspell, The Haunted).
Alma Mater Records will release the album on the 15th of March in two digipack editions, one of which will come with a limited variant artwork and will include a Bathory cover song, “Satan Is My Master”. For pre-order info, check the links below.
Before we leave you to the music, we’ll mention that Okkultist will be playing an album release show in Lisboa on March 15 (details and tickets available here), and we have some parting words from Alma Mater boss and Moonspell vocalist Fernando Ribeiro:
“Okkultist is the kind of band the Portuguese scene needs: talented, young, focused and just fucking brutal. Portuguese Death Metal has never sounded so exciting in my ears so we can’t wait to release this beast upon you and help you to reinvent evil together with this amazing Portuguese talent.”
1. Reinventing Evil
2. Back from the Dead
3. Sniff the Blood
4. Sign of the Ripper
5. I am the Beast
6. Grave Digger
7. Plasmodium Nocturnus
8. Rise and Reign
9. Satan Is My Master (Bathory Cover / CD Bonus Track)