Album Review – Ocram / Nasu EP (2017)

A musical work deeply influenced by some elements of Zoroastrianism mixing classical Black Metal with a touch of Middle East, bred by a talented and restless one-man army from Spain.

Zoroastrianism, or more natively Mazdayasna, is one of the world’s oldest extant religions, combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique among the major religions of the world. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, heaven and hell, and free will have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam. Having said that, it was quite obvious that Zoroastrianism would also be found in extreme music due to its strong connection with religious topics, with several Black Metal artists being inspired by such distinct religion, like Spanish Black Metal one-man army Ocram.

Hailing from Málaga, a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, located in Andalusia, Ocram is a one-man Black Metal band created in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist Ocram, who has already been featured at The Headbanging Moose with the insanely good 2015 album Exterminans IX:XI, by his other band Tsar Bomb. After the release of an EP titled Praeludium, in 2013, Ocram is back with a brand new EP named Nasu, the Avestan name of the female Zoroastrian demon (daeva) of corpse matter, also used as a general term for that which is false, immoral, impure or unclean. Featuring a darkly esoteric artwork by Victoria S. Mann (La Luna en un Hilo – Illustration & Handicraft), Nasu is a musical work deeply influenced by some elements of Zoroastrianism that mixes classical Black Metal with a touch of Middle East and a few clean chorus, and overall a lot of epic and melodic riffs, thoroughly spread throughout the album’s sixteen minutes of music.

The fire burns to the eerie sounds generated by Ocram in the arcane instrumental intro The Fire Worshipper, building the desired atmosphere for the darkened feast that’s about to come, titled The Bringer of the Unholy Flame, showcasing heavy riffs, a steady and brutal drumming, and the devilish gnarls by Ocram in an amazing display of high-end Black Metal, not to mention the song’s occult lyrics (“Enlighten my path, / Liberate my aged flesh, / Nourish my soul, / Spread your seed in the humanity. / Conceived by the entrails of the universe, /The bringer of the unholy flame.”), which you can definitely feel penetrating deep into your soul.

The second full-bodied song of the EP, The Tower of Silence,  features female choirs by guest vocalist Echo and disturbing lyrics (“The four eyes of the beast are looking at me, / The fire doesn’t warm up my body, / The bearers of the dead come for me, / The hands of the Druj are on my head.”), with Ocram accelerating the rhythm to a more demonic pace. In a nutshell, it’s old school Black Metal with hints of Death Metal and a huge amount of transcendental sounds, with the inclusion of some sluggish, heavy breaks that end up bringing more malignancy to the overall result of this obscure aria, flowing to a climatic and mesmerizing ending. And the outro The Nassesalars couldn’t sound more mysterious, presenting some background noises that will certainly disturb your mind.

Nasu is available for a comprehensive experience on YouTube, and if you like what Ocram has to offer you with his new EP I recommend you start following him on Facebook and also on YouTube to be up to speed with all news about his solo project, about Tsar Bomb and his other bands like Trees, Clouds & Silence. And let’s be honest, such talented musician deserves our utmost recognition for keeping the flame of underground metal alive and kicking with his creativity and passion for extreme music. Hence, you can show your true support to Ocram by purchasing Nasu through his BandCamp page, an album that not only brings to you some top-notch Black Metal, but that might also expand your religious horizons.

Best moments of the album: The Bringer of the Unholy Flame.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Independent

Track listing
1. The Fire Worshipper 2:49
2. The Bringer of the Unholy Flame 4:55
3. The Tower of Silence 7:17
4. The Nassesalars 0:58

Band members
Ocram – vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming

Guest musician
Echo – female choirs on “The Tower of Silence”

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