FACES OF DECEIT – A Restrospective Glance at ORCUSTUS’ WRATHRASH Attack

FACES OF DECEIT – A Restrospective Glance at ORCUSTUS’ WRATHRASH Attack


I found myself wandering the streets of Oslo one dismal afternoon before Easter this year as I had a bit of time on my hands before traveling abroad later that same day. This was literally hours before the renowned and long-running Inferno festival kicked off, and everywhere I went there were black metal adherents, death metal fanatics, and thrash metal maniacs – all of whom were looking forward to the unholy festivities that were about to take place. Whether it was a whiff of nostalgia or a bout of sentimentality that washed over me I cannot say, but the fact of the matter was that I began thinking about some of my own musical experiences at the festival, or highlights and precious memories, if you will. From Gorelord’s exclusive one-off performance to Sunn O)))’s engrossing dark ambient drone rituals and further on to Nidingr’s hyper-intense assault on the senses and Morbid Angel’s utterly compelling and forceful live onslaught, there have been plenty of exhilarating moments in relation to the festival from the perspective of this scribe. Going back to that afternoon in Oslo in late March, for whatever inexplicable reason I began fantasizing about what black metal acts I would have loved to witness on stage and what releases and outputs that deserve to be aired live and thereby reach a wider audience, and one of the first that came to mind was the underrated Orcustus and their vicious 2-track onslaught appropriately titled Wrathrash – a phenomenal little gem in every sense of the word.

Released on vinyl by Southern Lord in that cursed year of 2005 and later released digitally by the group themselves via Bandcamp, this brilliantly crafted slab of pitch-black hatred is grossly underappreciated in the eyes of this sloppy writer. One reason for that may be that it is sandwiched between their compelling first offering (Demo 2002) from 2003 and their one and only full-length opus, namely the grim and unsettling self-titled effort that came out in 2009. That might explain why it feels overlooked whenever the discussion revolves around Orcustus and their recorded outputs, but note that this is merely based on conversations that I have had with others who are into the band’s evil material. Not that the two fiery and supremely well-written tunes that constitute Wrathrash are uninspired, lackluster, or just plain uneventful by any stretch of the imagination; on the contrary as both of them are brimming with hellish zeal and satanic vigor Following a short, ominous, and drone-like sequence that lasts for approximately fifty-eight seconds, the title track explodes right out of the gate and immediately hammers home the point that these twisted souls are a force to be reckoned with. Leaning as much towards early Sodom as they do early Darkthrone, there is a uniquely eerie feel to the unhinged riffs that recalls In the Sign of Evil by the former outfit and Under a Funeral Moon by the latter Norwegian musical institution. The same pretty much applies to the second track, “Grin of Deceit,” although this ugly fucker is even more rooted in bestial and violent thrash metal of the crudest sort than the title track is. Together these two harmful compositions form a most potent, inspiring, and morbidly entertaining release, and the way in which they complement each other is just brilliant. It all sounds vibrant and lively and yet cold, caustic, and relentlessly unnerving. Guitarist Teloch was the mastermind behind “Grin of Deceit,” arguably the catchiest of the two compositions, and when I conducted an interview with Nidingr back in 2009, we touched ever so briefly on his involvement in Orcustus during those murky years of 2005 and 2006: “I wrote the B-side of Wrathrash, and I also did the vocals on the song I wrote.” In other words, the ridiculously skilled six-string wizard primarily known for his work with The True Mayhem and the aforementioned Nidingr crafted a brisk, fast-paced, and energetic tune with a vile and malevolent aura to it, and it is one that stands out among the cursed ensemble’s canon of sonic curses.

Those of you who did not obtain the vinyl version when it came out nearly twenty years ago can take comfort in the fact that it is available digitally through Bandcamp. Check it out and you will discover a gripping slab of ceaselessly entertaining black metal filth from the Norwegian underground that is deftly executed. You certainly need it more than it needs your loathsome being, and uncanny, cynical, and misanthropic black metal has rarely sounded better than it does here. Just listen to this one, will you?


  1. Wrathrash
  2. Grin of Deceit

“Wrathrash” was composed by Taipan whereas “Grin of Deceit” was composed by Teloch.


Dirge Rep – Drums and lyrics

Infernus – Bass

Taipan – Guitars and vocals on “Wrathrash.”

Teloch – Guitars and vocals on “Grin of Deceit.”

Tormentor – Guitars on “Wrathrash.”

Recorded in Norway during the Spring and Summer of 2005 and then released by Southern Lord Recordings in early November that same year, the format being a 7-inch vinyl limited to 1500 copies. Later, the band released Wrathrash digitally via Bandcamp where it can be streamed and downloaded: https://orcustus.bandcamp.com/album/wrathrash

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