Padua-based Abhor has been a fixture of the Italian black metal underground for over twenty years now. Originally formed in 1995, guitarist/bassist Domine Saevum Graven (also of Profezia the stellar raw black metal band A:S:), vocalist Ulfhedhnir, and a variety of co-conspirators–currently bassist/guitarist Kvasir (also of Profezia and A:S:), who joined the fold in 2004, and organist Leonardo Lonnerbach–have been churning out one excellent album after another in their self-described ‘Esoteric Horror Black Metal’ style.
Occulta religiO is the band’s seventh full-length and first for venerable German label iron Bonehead, and it’s another outstanding 40-minute platter of exactly what longtime Abhor fans have come to expect: near-primitive sounding black metal, mixed with the baleful atmospherics and ominous organ textures of occult doom, topped with Ulfhedhnir’s inimitable, phlegmy growls. In other words, the whole thing sounds straight-up fucking evil.
Actually, scratch that – the whole thing is straight-up fucking evil, and it’s an ancient evil at that. Far older than the musty basement of a record store in Olso in the early 90s. Older than that nuclear-hardened bunker in Nürensdorf, Switzerland in the early 80s. Older even than a certain community centre in Birmingham, England ca. 1970. Occulta religiO is the sound of Witches’ Sabbaths and Medieval alchemical rituals. Each track is an incantation for summoning demons found in an arcane, dusty grimoire. It’s music sourced from fons malorum–the source, chief cause, and origin of all evil–which also happens to be the title of the second song on the album. It’s also ungodly fucking catchy, with makes sense – after all, if Satan is going to try to seduce you, wouldn’t he take the most pleasing form possible in order to do so?
Occulta religiO will be available on May 25 from Iron Bonehead (preorder here), but you can sell your soul to Satan* a day early by streaming the whole thing right now, exclusively at the Vault.
*Indy Metal Vault is not responsible for what might happen if you are approached by an agent of Satan whilst listening to this album and enter into a Faustian bargain you later come to regret.