Cape of Bats- “Violent Occultism”

Cape of Bats

On the surface, an album like Cape of Bats‘ Violent Occultism really looks like it shouldn’t work. When an album’s press releases boast black metal and deathrock sounds with guest appearances by members of Christian Death and Integrity, it sounds like a case of the kitchen sink approach. I’ll admit that I almost didn’t even want to subject myself to what would surely be a disservice to many things I hold dear. Instead, from the first minute on, I found myself absolutely gripped by an album that seemed too weird and wonderful to actually exist and slightly disappointed that it wasn’t longer. Join me for a few minutes and let’s explore this confusing yet essential experience.


So what is it that makes Violent Occultism such a hit for Cape of Bats? First off, the production is a beautiful fog through which the band’s riffs just slice through. It’s fuzzy, it’s murky, and it’s just thick enough to add a vicious live sound to things while still allowing the intensely clever composition to shine through. In a genre based around aggression, it’s rare to find such balance, but it’s all here. The band knows when a good intro is warranted, as displayed on opening track “Kali Yuga (The Lightning and the Moon)” and when to do away with anything other than the essentials on ferocious rippers like “Blue Hands.” On the former track, Cape of Bats spends half the song building up a lurching pace and a solid melody only to kick it into double time and throw the listener down a path of chaos that still utilizes all the elements that have already been presented, along with throaty, ravenous vocals. As if the balance of timing and pacing wasn’t enough, Cape of Bats seems like a sort of counterbalance to the black metal infused punk of (one of my dear favorites) Nuit Noire, with deathrock and classic punk traits sitting nicely in their well executed brand of black metal. Keys on songs like “Weeping Daughters of Jerusalem” and instrumental beauty “Night of the Buck Knives” add both a sense of kitsch and melody while also acting as the perfect addition to the band’s bile and swagger. In a sense, this is as perfect of a fusion of hardcore’s ferocity, goth-friendly ambiance, and chilling black metal as one could hope for. If this time of year wasn’t already inherently spooky, it’s tapes like this that set the perfect soundtrack for Halloween.

Broken Limbs Recordings has released Violent Occultism on cassette and it’s already selling fast. Don’t fuck up. This is a heavier hitter than it may seem at first glance and you deserve to have this in your collection. Get hypnotized or get wild: Cape of Bats is equally capable of inducing either in listeners, it’s just a matter of what you bring to the experience.