OCTAGON
"Artisans of Cruelty"

(Autopsy Kitchen)

01. With Hate
02. Teachings In Cruelty
03. Black Leather Mask (The Spear Headed Avenger)
04. Psychotic Erotic
05. The Error That You Are
06. Spike Swallower
07.Futuristic Sadistic
08. Premeditation
09. Chloroform
10. Thornscar Rebuttal

RATING: 7/10

A delightful romp through lo-fi U.S. black metal, heavy on the sadomasochism, misogyny and good old-fashioned violence. This is that bottom-of-the-trashcan stuff you either love or hate, with almost comically bad vocals and sub-basement production, but OCTAGON manage to be creepily compelling in their orgy of primal lust and murder.

Musically, OCTAGON capture the off-the-rails ludicrousness of old VENOM at times, but also evince a weirdly pretentious, melodic streak (see the last two minutes of "Psychotic Erotic") and a mastery of tempo changes that keeps things interesting. And really, "The Error That You Are" would be a standard verse-chorus-verse rock and roll song, if you hosed off all the dried puke and graveyard dirt.

The vocals aren't any worse than what you've heard on countless old-school BM releases, but they are pretty weak and silly sounding at times. It's also kinda hard to take these harrowing tales of S&M, murder and molestation too seriously, given their general air of eighth-grade Goth poetry (to say nothing of the Jack Skellington tattoo on the singer's arm). It's a nice change from the usual pseudo-satanic heap of mystical bullshit, but should be taken with just as much of a grain of salt.

Those aforementioned bits of primitive arrangement and churning, sometimes disturbingly off-key melody make OCTAGON a cut above most subterranean "tr00 kvlt" black metal out there. It'll all be academic to 99.99% of the world, of course, and that's as it should be — this is for an elite (read: nerdy) few to pick apart and enjoy for its deliberately sickened, mud-and-blood vibe.

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