Van Helsing's Curse - Oculus Infernum
By: CJ on December 21, 2003  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
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Conceived by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame as a 'Soundtrack for Halloween', Oculus Infernum is the highly impressive debut from Van Helsing's Curse. Upon first inspecting the CD I thought that it was going to be just another boring slice of classically orientated rock operatics. How wrong I was.

Basically, the album is comprised of instrumental tracks interspersed with Snider's rather creepy voice-over reciting a horror tale. Surprisingly, this is highly effective – aided by superb production values under the sure guidance of drummer and sound designer Joe Franco.

The music itself is utterly incredible, fusing hard rock with classical and well-known tunes, drawing from such diverse influences such as Tubular Bells through to Moonlight Sonata. All of these themes are woven together into a musical tapestry that has to be heard to be believed. The standard of musicianship is top-notch, seamlessly blending together the hard rock standards of drum, bass and guitar with string orchestras and haunting gothic choirs (used to great effect in their pounding rendition of Carmina Burana). I cannot speak highly enough of the music that is presented on this album, it is simply jaw-dropping and quite possibly the best thing I have heard in many years. In fact, it has hardly left my CD player since it arrived and I have played it to everyone I know, all of whom were as impressed as I was (and will hopefully all go out and buy a copy!).

If you like hard rock with gothic overtones – but with melody too – then you could do a whole lot worse than picking up a copy of this CD. I think you will find it an astonishing piece of work and it is to Dee Snider's credit that he has taken a gamble on this, it could easily have been a complete disaster if it hadn't been so meticulously assembled.

I look forward to future releases from this stunning band and hope that they can match their debut with an equally impressive follow-up, as Oculus Infernum is a hard act to follow.

I unreservedly recommend this album and urge you to seek out a copy for yourself, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. This is an album that will appeal to a far wider audience than just your typical rock fan and is well worth getting hold of, in my opinion. An essential addition to any music fan's collection.
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