The Midlands (particularly the West Midlands) is no stranger to Rock or Metal. After all, Birmingham is considered the home of Metal, after Black Sabbath kick-started the scene and became not only local heroes, but legends. It’s no surprise that this has sparked tons of local talent over the years, as the genre continues to change and evolve, and Occoeur are one of these bands. They’ve been going from strength-to-strength since forming in 2012, and releasing their debut album Taking Over. With a slew of live gigs under their belt, and a reputation for putting on amazing shows, it’s no wonder they’ve gained momentum. Their latest release is the third in a series of EPs, aptly named Three.
Opener “Serpent” sets the scene with melancholy tones and a haunting synth soundscape. It’s such an enticing and atmospheric start, that it’s hard to notice that it lasts nearly a minute. Then it bursts into life with a wall of epic Metal sounds and riffs, completely drawing the listener in. Through the wall of heaviness, frontwoman Alexandra Maria’s confident vocals really shine through, adding to the melodic feel of the music. The track is injected with energy throughout, as the soundscapes from earlier creep in to add an extra dimension to the track. “Together We Stand” has an interesting sense of pacing, constantly switching between speedy and slower sections. This works heavily in the favour of the track, as when it’s at full-pace, it feels absolutely electrifying, whilst the slower moments allow a heavier emphasis on the beautiful harmonies and melodies. At times, the lyrics have a very sing-along feel to them, which would work brilliantly in a live environment, and is bound to go down a storm at shows! It’s all topped off with a stunning solo towards the end, plus the complex drum arrangements help to drive it forward. “Glitterbomb” is probably the most straightforward track on Three, but is no less satisfying. The overall feel and aesthetic has an almost Pop Punk vibe to it. Yet the group has managed to make this work with their Melodic Metal sound, truly making it their own. The rhythm and beat to this one are quite catchy, feeling extremely danceable (I admit I was swaying in my desk chair whilst listening to it.) A heavier breakdown in the track helps to add a nice sense of contrast to the song. Last, but not least, we have “Plague”. Chugging, heavy riffs, combined with amazing harmonies help to make this track feel dramatic, and give it a sense of urgency. All the elements resonate perfectly here creating an epic combination of sounds that ends the EP with a bang.
From start to finish, Three is stunning. It traverses a range of influences, utilising them in ways that are more complex than they seem initially. There is a commercial appeal to the music, but their boots are still firmly grounded within the Metal genre. It’s clear that Occoeur aren’t just another average Metal band, as they combine sonic elements in intelligent ways, resulting in an powerful sound, which is unmistakeably their own style. They’ve put a lot of time and care into each track, and it really shows. The EP is lively throughout, and every song always hits home, at times even reaching anthemic qualities. I found myself absolutely blown away by how fantastic this group is, and I highly recommend keeping a keen eye on them.
Final Verdict: Occoeur combines elements in complex, interesting ways, resulting in Three being an excellent Metal EP. The melodies and harmonies are stunning throughout, combined with intense heavy moments and stunning vocals. Lively, energetic and powerful.
Together We Stand