Atrocity have had a varied career, with probably as many different incarnations and eras to their name as Paradise Lost. Okkult II finds the band in one of their darker, more brutal moods.
This is not straightforward death metal, however, not always at any rate. The songs on Okkult II have a lot of different elements in them spread out over the 45 minutes of new material we have here. Full of atmosphere and orchestral highlights, this is essentially an old-school death metal album that’s enhanced with symphonic and other non-death metal elements in various places – think along the lines of the more epic parts of bands like Nile and Behemoth, only from a more traditional death metal perspective.
Okkult II is an album of songs; despite the various ideas that it plays with Atrocity are a death metal band at heart, and remember all of their early lessons from the 90s about how to put together engaging, timeless heavy music. Yep, the band know how to write a good death metal song that’s for sure, and there’s a lot of catchy, memorable content here.
In some ways this album does give me a strong sense of nostalgia, as this form of classic-death-metal-with-an-extra-experimental-side seems curiously lacking in today’s world of hybridised, bastardised, multi-genre bands. Maybe it’s something to do with Atrocity’s core death metal sound, and the fact they are an authentic product of the 80s/90s, rather than being true hybrids? Who knows. All I know is that while Okkult II certainly takes me back in many ways, it is also a firm product of 2018 and sounds huge, monolithic, and absolutely crushing.
With a crisp, punchy production to beef up the songs even further with extra muscle, Okkult II is an impressive slab of meaty death metal.
Very highly recommended.