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Yyrkoon: Occult Medicine

This is one of those puzzling metal releases, where the band and music impresses the hell out of you with technical skill, precise execution, yet leaves me feeling a little flat. Occult Medicine is the fourth album from this French band, who play a mix of death and thrash metal, littered with technical riffs, blinding guitar solos, rampaging double bass drums, and lethal death vocals. While much of the instrumentation impresses, I can't help but think I've heard this all before. Sure, tunes like "Blasphemy" churn along nicely with some fierce guitar work, and the title track has some atmospheric & melodic leanings to it that might please the prog-metal camp, but many of the cuts here tend to sound a tad similar to each other and steamroll along aimlessly. One nice touch is the use of some clean vocals that complement the grunts on "Trapped Into Life", which add a new dimension to the bands speedy death metal vibe.

Occult Medicine is serviceable old-school thrash, with lots of tasty metal guitar solos, but overall not very original. However, if bands like Morbid Angel, Carcass, or even Death, are your bag, then by all means this might be for you.

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Doctor X
3. Censored Project
4. Blasphemy
5. Occult Medicine
6. Revenant Horde
7. Reversed World
8. Trapped Into Life
9. Surgical Distortion
10. Schyzophrenic Carnage
11. Erase the Past

Added: October 29th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: The End Records
Hits: 4913
Language: english

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Yyrkoon: Occult Medicine
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-10-29 16:33:57
My Score:

Unfortunately I haven't heard Yyrkoon's earlier releases, but judging by their highly impressive work on Occult Medicine, they sure seem like albums I might enjoy. This is death metal in its rawest and most realized manner. No keys, no continuous galloping riffage in order to be catchy, and no signs of mainstream agenda whatsoever. Occult Medicine is the kind of album littered with amazing lead guitar work, both deep and tortured growls, and ultra-fast drum and bass rhythms, all enhanced with a great production work.

I knew little about Yyrkoon till I heard this disc. Obviously they hail from France, a country where death metal is certainly not the most popular metal genre. The band is led by vocalist and guitarist Stephane Souteryrand who seems responsible for most of the music and lyrics, with substantial support by his band mates. His songwriting is in the old school thrash metal meets death metal style, perhaps influenced by the likes of Carcass, Morbid Angel, and Pestilence. Unlike most other European death metal bands, Yyrkoon sound uncannily American, given their heavy approach to riffing and incessant double bass drum work. From heavily thrash-oriented death metal songs in the form of "Blasphemy" and "Reversed World", tracks filled with atomic old school death riffs, precise dual leads, killer bass breaks quickly replaced by rapid-fire riffs. However, interestingly enough, both songs reveal their European origin due to the band's very traditional heavy metal style of soloing, in that I am often reminded of the first two Mercyful Fate discs or any solo on Carcass' Heartwork milestone. On other songs such as "Doctor X", the band goes for more speedy riffing and melodious guitar solos with headbanging quality, whilst "Censored Project" finds them exploring technical thrash metal ideas laced with soaring lead guitars.

The band's love for American style death metal comes through on "Revenant Horde" with its Morbid Angel-like atonal soloing amidst continuous blast beats, stop-start riffs, and dual harmonic lead work. Likewise, on "Trapped into Life", except for its brief clean vocal passage, they turn into a mercilessly heavy grindcore act, particularly in the way Souteryrand sings, but once again the amazing clean tone in the second lead gives away the band's European roots. With all that said, the best song on the album is the title track, pushing about seven minutes, and enveloping a very cinematic tone and atmospheric impact. Its slow build-up, elements from earlier blackened thrash metal bands and wonderfully beautiful textural guitar harmonies in the middle make for a great listen. If the band decides to explore more of this type of writing, they could break some new ground, in an overpopulated genre with either old school death metallers or Swedish melodic bands.

Jacob Hansen's production and the artwork as well as the booklet are all stellar. Anyone who likes relentlessly heavy and brutal death metal injected with flowing lead melodies and technical riff and rhythm structure will enjoy Yyrkoon's Occult Medicine.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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