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Portugal’s black metal scene might not garner the same attention as its Québécois counterpart or the Black Twilight Circle, but Cripta Oculta make a compelling case that it should with their forthcoming self-titled album. The duo proves stylistically difficult to pin down on their first new release in almost five years. Raw production meets almost progressive songwriting—fluid tempos, sudden tonal shifts, non-linear song structures, prominent use of flute—for a record that almost sounds like a hybrid of Mütiilation and Shataan. It may take a couple of listens to fully coalesce, but it definitely rewards the listener’s patience.

For example, on the surprisingly catchy “Uma Noite de Trevas,” streaming below, strange juxtapositions abound. The track opens with one of the more straightforwardly melodic guitar parts on the entire album, while underneath it a synth that sounds oddly like a vibraphone accentuates the bass line on the first beat of each change. The effect sounds more like the Modern Jazz Quartet than Mayhem, but the incongruity creates a magnificent tension that then elevates even further with the introduction of the shrieked vocals. The flute features less prominently on the track, but when it does appear it punctuates a section of tremolo-picked guitar with a stabbing single-note line that threatens to pull the song’s time signature off-kilter as it wobbles in and out of the decidedly lo-fi mix. Barely controlled chaos, for sure – but Cripta Oculta pull it off with aplomb.

Cripta Oculta will be available on April 14 via Signal Rex. Until then, fall under their eldritch spell with our premiere of “Uma Noite de Trevas.”

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Cripta Oculta currently have neither an official website nor a Facebook page.

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