Abhor – Occulta religiO (1920s Organ-Grinder Metal)


I love this cover, just love it. But my love stops there. because I had heard of Abhor before, and I wasn’t excited then, still not very excited now. In the past they were the usual “true Norwegian” type of black metal, only not from Norway. But they’ve been around since 1995, an impressive run for any metal band, which makes them more of a industry than a band if they’ve been around that long. Credit must be given for at least that, but it’s not the long-lasting type. Occulta religiO is perhaps Abhor’s best work to date, but this achievement should be considered relative to them, and not anyone else. Their earlier work was highly derivative, but acceptable, and the sound slowly developed more of that atmospheric quality Bathory tried later in his career, which is exemplified by the trash that is Blood on IceYou heard me. Trash. I’ve had a real problem with Italian metal recently, as you know, but I have to say in spite of this not being an entirely positive review, Abhor are better than most, and I can see through the funeral fog there might be something incredible ahead for them, if they don’t mind giving it another 10 years or so.


Occulta religiO is telling you everything you need to know just giving it a literal glance. Illegible black metal logo, occultist with knife, slightly weirdo text with big Os. What does that say? Know ye not? It says occult spook house, meaning cloaks, fuzzy band photos on stairs (probably at a cemetery), and a sound much like a silent film orchestra for a horror film in the 1920s, except it’s not actually scary anymore. Trust me, this is definitely a theme and aesthetic that needs to be properly tapped. The nature of such a sound is automatically dated, it would be like making classical music actually fierce, and we see where that’s led Great Kat over the years… Occulta religiOcaptures the very heart of Italian or general Euro trash horror of the 1970s, then accidentally drops it and splatters what chance it had everywhere. Had this been released back then it would have made everyone piss their red occult hood garb. In 2018, however, it’s something that would only scare a born-again Christian who was just saved because nothing save Christ is safe. Abhor has come a long way from their olden days, and you can clearly track their development into this current form. But without finding a way to make this a sound to be taken seriously, it works best as background music at a non-profit haunted house decoration sale after Halloween is already over. No one, and I mean no one has the skill to make a church organ a viable instrument for black metal, that was ruined long ago. Abhor have a unique path ahead, I’m just not so sure they themselves have the knowledge to keep walking upon it.


Abhor Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Abhor – Occulta religiO
Iron Bonehead Productions
3.7 / 5