I have an opinion that Polish black metal scene belongs to the most exciting even in the worldwide scale. We have so many killer new bands these days; some of which try to put this genre a bit further, coming up with something more original and exceptional and some, which stubbornly keep it as traditional as possible and they do so with excellent results. Here’s another very new name on this scene, band called Occultum. Actually, they’re new name, but Occultum has risen from the ashes of Amarok, which may be known to some die hard maniacs of the most obscure and hateful underground black metal stuff. I personally know Amarok only a little, but can say one thing here: the change of the name / or maybe creating new band, (I don’t know if Occultum is continuation of Amarok or rather completely new entity) brought us a huge quality difference and “Towards Eternal Chaos” is a great step forward for these musicians (whoever is involved in Occultum, as we don’t know the line up). Occultum is far superior to the previous band and probably we deal here with an album, which can end up on the list of the best Polish black metal releases of 2016.
Yes, you read it right. This is just fuckin excellent slab of cold, grim and hateful black metal, which I am sure will please all die hard fans of this style. Occultum draws extensively from the traditional black metal, but somehow they do it without turning into useless copycats and I feel like their music has much more to offer that just a plain cut and paste of Darkthrone or Gorgoroth riffs, even if fragments that are heavily inspired by those are also present. But along with these, Occultum brings stuff that is quite similar to what some newer black metal bands from countries like Sweden or Germany, it would be a perfect addition to label catalogue of such World Terror Committee (with Ascension, Chaos Invocation, Dysangelium and so on), spiced with Urgehal, Mayhem and even Marduk from their recent records. In my opinion at least.
All in all, this is a great black metal album. It’s harsh and aggressive, often fast, but together with many slow parts and even some melodic riffs to make everything more exciting and interesting. The arrangements are not on the primitive and one dimensional side, but Occultum actually do try to come up with something what would bring attention. I like the whole performance; Occultum has just great riffs, ideas, etc, the howling vocals are superb and there’s that occult aura on top of everything. And finally the production is brilliant, I like it a lot, because it is quite raw, but clean and powerful at the same time. So it provides a good listening experience and no one should bitch about anything here, as it’s just very, very good album. I’m not gonna say in details about every song here, no point for that, all I can say is that I am very surprised to hear such a good album from ex Amarok members. And hopefully Occultum will carry on doing such a good job. Fingers crossed.
Standout tracks: “In Saecula Saeculorum Tenebrae”, “Anthem of the Fallen World”, “Gehinnom Gate”
Final rate: 80/100