SKULL74

OTARGOS, Fuck God – Disease Process  (2009, Rupture Music)

The skull:
This skull, shown in a stark black and white photograph, looks off into the distance as if thinking “Where are my fellows? Why am I not in a pile with them? Am I not a pile-worthy skull?” He’s sitting on a cliff face or some rock formation, embedded just enough to look like he’s hovering, and we’re glad he’s alone, because BDS does not accept skull piles (although there are many such album covers, and we respect that). Or perhaps he rests in a tomb, solitary, and grateful to the person who just opened the vault door, which would explain the light on the skull’s forehead. This photo offers much in the way of contemplation and guesswork. For something not very artistically imaginative, there’s plenty to ponder.

The music:
Technically this is very good stuff. Often lightning-speed, this French band’s black metal buzzes like prime Marduk with a slightly artier twist. They’re not afraid of sounding clean and clinical, and that puts across their coldness probably better than choosing to record “necro”/raw. Although each track offers an interesting riff here or mindblowing drum blast there, there’s not quite enough variation, and they’re going for a particular aesthetic that’s been run into the ground by now. But they do it very well. (The band plays Dark Funeral covers, if that helps tell you where their heads are at.) You need but check out opening track “Dawn of the Ethereal Monolith” to know whether this band is for you or not.
— Friar Wagner

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