Occult Deceiver has been a big part of the Indianapolis live music scene for some time, but until recently had no recorded material. With the release of their debut album Dark Ritual, recorded and mixed by Clandestine Arts Recording, the group presents seven tracks that showcase their aggressive and unique approach to blackened death metal. Fans of Testament, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, and even Black Dahlia Murder will find a lot to enjoy here.
“Shattered Soul” kicks off the album with a slow, heavy intro that segues nicely into black metal. Dre Duarte has a slightly laid back approach to drumming which gives this track in particular a nice groove. Other songs like “Necromancy,” “Lament of the Self Righteous,” and a “Time for Suffering” may seem like straight forward death metal, but other influences like thrash, punk, and even doom are found. Throughout the album, the guitar work from Jeff Parks and Jesse Junker is top-notch and mixes technicality with appealing, ear-catching riffs. The standout track is “Primal Crux” with its dual lead intro. One could easily imagine Metalocalypse’s Dethklok playing this to an unsuspecting crowd before their violent demise. “Profane the Host” offers something a little different, with the heaviest dose of thrash and punk, while also highlighting why Ty Winslow is one of the top metal vocalists in the Indianapolis scene. All of Ty’s vocals mix guttural lows with shrieking highs showing tremendous versatility, but it’s the power metal howl at the end of this one that really stands out. Hopefully, we’ll hear more of this in the future.
All in all, Dark Ritual is a solid debut from one of the city’s top metal outfits. The only fault found with this album is that a couple of the performances seem a little loose and don’t necessarily depict how tight this band sounds live. Also, the album has a keyboard track, but it’s barely audible, even while listening on headphones. Here’s to hoping that they bring them more toward the front with future recordings, as this will help further distinguish them from other local bands in this genre.