I don’t know what Okus means, but the first acronym my brain came up with was Only Kill Ugly Saints. The problem is, that omits all the photogenic saints that Okus could behead just with the sharp blade of their music. This Irish four-piece hails from Drogheda, a city that publically displays the severed head of Saint Oliver Plunkett. History says he was executed in London in 1681, but I think he dreamed of Okus’ music centuries before and it incinerated his faith so quickly that he decapitated himself. Their seven song self-titled long EP/short album is mean as hell and feels like it’s putting cigarettes out on your eardrums.
The album is built around a foundation of death-doom but often blasts into ferocious d-beat punk and noisy hardcore. While their bursts of blackened crust remind me of Young And In The Way, they’re more similar to bands like The Secret or Full of Hell who change tempos more drastically song to song, avoiding easy characterization. Okus’ music is so ugly (HOW UGLY IS IT?) I wouldn’t kiss it with my worst enemy’s bloody asshole. If you read this blog you know right now this is pretty much my way of writing a love poem to a band: Bloody assholes. And I typed that up before even noticing one of the members was in a band once called Bleeding Rectum. This really could be love.
My favorite moments on the album were the gut-churning and intimidating as fuck-all “Bodies” and the rabid grinder “Burn It To the Ground,” though “Light Obscene” also features a tasty metallic groove. Every sound on this album feels blackened, like the songs are heretics splashed with tar, covered in asp scales and ash, then burned alive in front of an audience of cheering children. My only concern is that a couple of the songs linger a bit long, like the two minute intro to “Light Obscene” that delays us from getting to the bone marrow of the song, and “Born In Chains” which seems to lumber forward after the third minute. Apart from these choices this is still a focused, vicious release that treats brutality like the art form it truly is. Also, just to save you a weird visit to eBay, you don’t need to live within spitting distance of a severed saint head to appreciate this music. Those heads are dumb expensive, spend the money on this album instead.
Listen to Okus over on Bandcamp, where this album is available as a “name your price” download: http://okus.bandcamp.com/album/okus
And check them out on Facebook over here: https://www.facebook.com/Okusband