Stratuz / Venezuelan Doom Metal veterans return with Osculum Pacis

Venezuelan Doom Metal veterans Stratuz have released their fourth full-length album Osculum Pacis on Sliptrick Records. The record is a masterful blend of “beauty” and “heavy”, strewn across a canvas of eleven tracks.

Stratuz – Osculum Pacis (Sliptrick Records)

Release Date: Out Now

Words: Michael Patrick Rogers

The album isn’t quite as entertaining as the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial, but it is pretty close, and I am totally obsessed with the Depp trial, so that is saying a lot. I’ve never been to Venezuela, but one day when I do go, I definitely want to jam with the dudes in Stratuz.

Even though the band has been around since the mid-’80s, listening to Osculum Pacis was my first experience ever hearing Stratuz. Throughout the album, I can hear familiar hints of Behemoth, maybe a little inspiration from My Dying Bride, or even a touch of Candlemass.

Cover of Osculum Pacis from Stratuz
Osculum Pacis. Black Metal, goth, and doom, delivered powerfully on this record.

This might be a strange statement, but I can also hear the sounds of the epic video game Skyrim. The orchestral undertones make me feel like I should be on the lookout for a dragon attacking me from above as I travel the terrain of Whiterun. I really enjoyed the mix of Black Metal, goth, and doom, that the band delivers powerfully on this record.

A two-minute orchestral intro sets the tone before the opening song, Morning Star, kicks in, literally, with driving kick drums. The epic track delivers an all-in-one taste of what is to come on the following tracks before moving on to Father Amorth, which is more on the heavy side of things with an acoustical accent popping in mid-song.

Holy Grail keeps things going with a delicate piano piece and goth vocals. This song reminds me of the ’90s, which I deeply miss. Caelibatus incorporates powerful Death Metal-esque vocals over a smooth but heavy gallop.

In the Name Of God dredges along powerfully with great detail to the ambience. The vocal work on this song is some of the best on the entire album, guttural and full of emotion. Back To The Sun brings back memories of Type O Negative goth vibes. The way the band transitions smoothly between genres is noticeable but not too drastic or distracting.

The song Sodomized reminds me a bit of old Paradise Lost, as the guitar leads on this song are clean and excellent. Dawn is my favourite track on the album. I appreciate how heavily the atmospheric undertones are featured throughout every song of the record. I like to have a lot of atmosphere in my video games, movies, and comic books, and the same goes for my music. Stratus get it, they know how important atmosphere is, and they know how to incorporate it with a purpose.

The album trails off with Left, a soothing yet brutal tune, and then Condemned closes the album out strong. Overall I enjoyed this album very much, and I will be giving it a few more spins before I go back to watching the Johnny Depp trial, anxiously awaiting Amber Heard’s testimony.

If I had a scoring system, I’d give Osculum Pacis a “4 out of 5 maggot-infested skulls”. In other words, Osculum Pacis is a good album, and I recommend that you give it a listen wherever it may be that you find your music these days.

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