Once again Desert Psychlist has to bow down to fellow Doom Chart's contributor, and the brains behind SUNDAY'S HEAVY TUNES, Mel Lie for pointing us towards the subject of this review, Mel has a knack for sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to new music so when she posted up a recommendation for a debut album from a Mexican outfit called Okktli on her social media we were of course all over it. The Mexico City quartet Mel recommended so highly jam a groove that sits somewhere between bluesy occult rock and acid tinted proto-doom, a groove decorated in vocals that are rich in texture and powerful in execution as you will no doubt find out when you give their self-titled debut album "OKKTLI" a spin.
Many bands ploughing a furrow in the fields of doom and occult rock make the mistake of decorating their grooves in harsh, demonic styled tones in order to make them feel more menacing, sinister and evil but evil, by its very nature, is something seductive and insidious, the Satan that supposedly appeared at the crossroads to legendary bluesman Robert Johnson would not have come spitting and snarling like some demon from a Hollywood horror movie, he would probably have spoken in a combination of engaging and alluring tones, otherwise Mr. Johnson would have been straight out of there. It's in these enticing tones that Alfonso Brito Lopez (vocals/rhythm guitar) sings the albums tales of melancholy and despair, his voice possessing a deep velvety gravitas in the lower register and at the higher end displaying a powerful gritty, almost Dio-esque, timbre. Lopez's extraordinary rich vocals and crunching chords, combined with bassist Israel Oñate's meaty low end riffs and runs, drummer Mauricio Hernández's swinging beats and frenetic fills and guitarist César Gama's scorching blues tinted lead work, are what elevates this band from being just another bunch of Black Sabbath wannabees to something else entirely. Having said this there are many Sabbathian moments to be found nestled away on "OKKTLI", especially on final track "Our Hope Is Gone" which along its way unashamedly lifts a whole section from a well known Sabbath classic (we won't spoil it by telling you which one), but other than that "The Shamen", "Mayahuel" and "Deny" are all products of the bands collective imagination, bluesy doomic tomes that are as alluring as they are sinister and dark.
"OKKTLI" is a dark, delicious slice of doom/occult rock from a band who know a thing about flow and dynamics, it is not perfect by any means, very few debuts are, but what faults it does have are few and barely noticeable. Mexico has given us some great bands over the years, Vinnum Sabbathi, Spacegoat, Comanchet and Crimson Trip have all made their mark on the international scene, with this release Okktli could well be adding their name to that list.
Check 'em out. .......
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