In this digital age where everybody is interconnected to the point of saturation, it’s getting harder and harder to shy away from the public eye and let the ancient magic do its thing. Yet GRIMOIRE DE OCCULTE have been pretty good at it: formed in the early 10’s in Aachen, they’ve managed so far to keep a on purpose low profile, with only scattered and limited releases and four live shows only. But in 2017, a more widely available and ‘professional’ split EP with Peruvians doom masters MIRTHLESS paved the way for a new and exciting chapter…
Even to the chosen few who knew the band from before, Wisdow of the Dead will come as a surprise. The trio always had a taste for the epic but as spearheaded by the super limited and daring 2017 rehearsal demo Ritual Before Thy Fullmoon (a 27 minutes long instrumental drums/synth duel!), their first proper album reaches an almost ritual sense of foreboding, as if with it the listener was treading on uncharted, solemn yet majestic territories. And this is no accident, considering the slow process that gave birth to GRIMOIRE DE OCCULTE. “The band has always been about bordering to the other side, the afterlife and building a bridge between dreams, death and the occult” concedes their founding member and drummer, Baal. “Many things come to me in dreams. That’s where I found the band’s name and also where I envisioned our very first recording, more in a drone and ritual vein. I originally was on my own and talked about that concept with a longtime friend of mine, frontman Philsoph. He took he photo I ended up using for our first demo cover, done in a local cemetery with a small lake at its center, with the water symbolizing the inter connection in between the land of the living and the land of the dead. We had such a good connection that I asked him to join and later on, we recruited Viator Noctis on guitar and bass as he shared the same interests.”
Now a “real band”, they focused more on their death metal roots, citing respected signatures such as ANTHROPOMORPHIA, ETERNAL DARKNESS, DEAD CONGREGATION OR NECROS CHRISTOS as influences, as well as some “more obscure” ambient and ritual acts. This being said, as the five tracks (plus one intro) featured on the album will testify, there’s no room here for any complex nor bizarre arrangements. Some will even probably deem GRIMOIRE DE OCCULTE as “too primitive” as their music crawls more than it obliterates. Far from saturating the listener’s ears with a relentless assault, Wisdow of the Dead is doomy and creepy. Like a curse you can’t really escape and that growing sense of unease when you first deal with occult forces… In the end, why run when you know that no matter what, death will welcome you in its cold arms no matter what? Hence a very stern musical approach, with repetitive riffs and growled chanting that feel like ancient incantations presiding over forbidden rites. Down to its songs’ titles (‘Rotten Flowers’, ‘Necromantic Invocation’ etc.), everything on this album is set to glorify this special tie linking this world to the other. The songs are on purpose quite epic yet don’t bother challenging the listeners, instead it’s all about putting forth a trance-like form of aggression. The album’s intro s quite revelatory as the you’re feeling like stepping by mistake in some kind of hidden chamber with walls covered by magical symbols and where some ancient ritual is being conducted before the sludgy guitars of ‘Below the Ground’ do, indeed, take you… Somewhere else for a 44 minutes trip.
No wonder then that the album’s artwork, designed by no less that Italian master Paolo Girardi, is following the same red thread. “In ancient Rome and Greece, necromancy was a very common ritual. People would visit one of their relative or friends’ graves to ask for help and share a bit of wisdom when confronted with a very important decision. They would burn resin, mostly Myrrhe, and fall asleep in front of the mausoleum so they would receive the answers to their questions in their dreams.”
Wisdom Of The Dead was recorded from October-November 2017 by R.S. and Grimoire De Occulte. Mixed and Mastered by M. Dahmen at Liquid Aether Audio from November 2017 - January 2018. Artwork by Paolo Girardi in September 2018. Drums by Baal, Guitars/Bass by Viator Noctis, Vocals by Philosoph.