Portuguese black metal band Ocerco push their sound into a cosmic vortex on ‘A Desolação’

OcercoRunning into a newer band that really gets your juices flowing is a great experience. New blood keeps the metal scene going, and the more strong fresh talent we can get, the better. That, obviously, brings us to today’s subject, that being Portugal’s Ocerco.

The album made its way to me several weeks ago, and just from the bio, I was ready to leap in full bore. Comparisons were made to groups including Ash Borer, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Altar of Plagues, which to me is like being offered a high ABV stout and a piece of cake. But going through the band’s second EP “A Desolação,” I have to say those bands certainly come from the same place, but Ocerco isn’t mining intellectual material. Yeah, you get the numbing, assaulting sense of black metal fury, but Ocerco have their own twists and quirks. For one, there is a little more weirdness to this band, and the production is a little less foggy, allowing their nuances and personality to burst more clearly. Their identities, as far as I can tell, are shrouded in mystery, and that adds a bit more intrigue to their project because you’re not sure what kind of forces are at work here. So just let the music sweep you into its vortex.

Ocerco coverThe record opens with “O Colapso” that immediately signals that strange matters are afoot. Sonic interference bubbles up, sending the song into full panic, then pulling back a bit, then going for the jugular again. After full ignition, wild shrieks rain down and absolutely pummel you, tearing at your skin and your psyche at the same time. The whole things feels sweltering and stormy, hovering over you and pelting you with hail, leaving your mind a dizzy mess. The final minutes get a little mucky and muddy, while the intensity hits its peak and then dissolves into feedback. “O Ocaso” follows, blistering with speed and punishment, paving the way for the vocals to pierce and gash away. The music hits a high that feels like a tornado sweeping in, with eerie echoes blending into the madness, and a smothering, disorienting pace hitting its high. The band continues its blinding march until it finally fades into a pocket of noise.

The closing title track emerges with guitars striking and ringing out like a doom cloud, later meeting up with slow-driving, menacing guitars and lurching growls. The melodies are as dark as they are anywhere else on this EP, going into pained, guttural emissions of horror, and sounds buzzing like an uncontrollable storm. From there, the song keeps building up, indicating a crescendo is near, and the playing burns and churns, blowing steam and mixing in with the bloodthirsty vocals that sound terrifying and bruised. The final moments find the blaze reaching its high point before the fire is brought under control, letting the song burn off and float into space.

Ocerco certainly have the makings of a really strong band going forward. They do a fine job with “A Desolação” making interesting black metal (no easy feat these days) and demanding attention for their entrancing playing. It’s still early, and all possibilities are open for this band to become a bruiser. I look forward to hearing where they go from here and if they take the right steps to become true heavyweight contenders.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ocercoocerco

To buy the album, go here: http://thevaultshop.bigcartel.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://signalrex.com/

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