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Occultation - "Three & Seven" (CD)

Occultation - "Three & Seven" CD cover image

"Three & Seven" track listing:

1. The Sea Of Snakes And Souls (6:00)
2. The One Who Sleeps (5:44)
3. Shroud Of Sorrows (6:35)
4. Dreamland In Flames (5:28)
5. Living Portrait (5:19)
6. Double Walker (4:54)
7. Three & Seven (3:54)

Reviewed by on May 10, 2012

"This is an album for those old-school doom heads who want to feel like they are drifting on a river of blood and crushed goals."

Bands like The Devil’s Blood and Ghost have risen up the mainstream value of the “occult rock” sound. This sound is based on dark lyrical themes and ‘70s-inspired rock/metal. It’s a way for a band to be harsh without resorting to being some ambiguous black/death metal group. NYC’s Occultation is in a similar category as these two bands, though definitely inspired by the style of bands like Saint Vitus and Candlemass. Their Profound Lore Records debut, “Three & Seven,” is a gateway to an eerie and mind-altering nightmare of spiritual suffering.

The intensity that seeps from these seven songs could lay to waste most heavier acts. Most of this intensity is masked by a dreamy atmosphere that makes each instrument seem like it’s floating in zero gravity. This mood is transferred over to the dual female vocals from bassist MAL and drummer V. Each line drifts above the music, staying elevated until the next one comes to sweep it away into space. The music can’t be considered psychedelic, but the production makes it seem so in certain places.

As mentioned before, “Three & Seven” has a ‘70s rock/metal take on traditional doom metal. Flourishes of mystical organ and male vocal chants from guitarist EMM (aka Negative Plane’s Nameless Void) rouse up a dark, entrancing scope to “Dreamland In Flames” and “Shroud Of Sorrows.” Most of these songs tread on a mid-tempo that has nothing pushing it into a faster pace, though “Living Portrait” and the title track punch up the beat to a quicker clip that feels even more unsettling.

The band is punctual with this album, setting aside less than 40 minutes to get their message out. Filler is hard to find, though some tracks resonate sharper than others. A harpsichord outro to “Shroud Of Sorrows” is the lone instance of any outside instruments other than guitar, bass, drums, and organ. Having the pulse-racing “The Sea Of Snakes And Souls” as the first track to welcome the listener in was an intelligent design plan, and sets in motion what to expect as a whole from “Three & Seven.”

Occultation hides very few secrets within “Three & Seven.” Their sound is inspired, and it’s a style that they seem to relish in, but there isn’t much to the album that isn’t heard on the first two or three tracks. It’s not a question of variety though, as “Three & Seven” can’t be constituted as unbearable to listen to. This is an album for those old-school doom heads who want to feel like they are drifting on a river of blood and crushed goals. “Three & Seven” will impose its catchy force on any listener fortunate enough to give the album a go.

Highs: Doom metal meets '70s rock, dreamy atmosphere hides the intense layout of the music, short enough to not comes across as overbearing

Lows: Very few surprises past the first few songs, vocals can occasionally be lost in the shuffle

Bottom line: Doom metal with occultist views and a rocking interior, "Three & Seven" is a stirring debut album from Occultation.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)