OPHIDIAN I – Desolate
The Icelandic extreme metal scene has been submerged deeper into such wonderful, atmospheric and engaging styles of metal. Whether it be black metal, doom, post-rock or anything in that field, Iceland’s technical death metal band Ophidian I have came back and this this around they’ve brought us the second full-length album under a new label they’re signed to which is Season Of Mist and Desolate is the latest offering from these musicians and is the continuation of their 2012 debut Solvet Saeclum. Musically, Ophidian I’s style, compositional work, progression and experimentation in creating death metal may not seem to blow everything out of the water all at once, but for a band that’s been discussed in the technical death metal community I was pleasantly surprised by how dynamic, fresh and organic sounding Desolate really is.
Take all the elements of technical death metal, progressive death and some brutal death signatures, put it in a blender well stirred and you get Desolate in a nutshell. Stylistically wise, this is the best sounding Ophidian I album to date as I noticed every song brings character, narration and the unsophisticated nature of the everlasting melodies ranging from the blast beats, commendable vocals, bass bringing a triumphant trademark to the album’s production and guitars sounding assaulted, this is a death metal fan’s dream to hear such magnificently crafted and symbolic pieces of technical death metal but with their own sense of touch and purpose.
Songs such as Unfurling The Cresent Moon, Jupiter, Enslaved In A Desolate Storm and Diamonds for example really have this unique approach and twist to their foundation as most of these songs reminded me a lot of early Obscura, Planetary Duality from The Faceless and the progressive, abstracted and almost jazzy style layers from France’s Gorod, Desolate promises to feature such a massively syncopated swings of rhythmical leads but also diving into a impressive melodic death metal soundscape which is something most bands in the genre seem to execute in but for Ophidian I’s ambition and arbitrary guidelines is concerned, they solidified and executed so flawlessly and I give them huge props and credit where its due. Desolate is one of the finest examples that technical death metal is not dead just yet and it will continue to be a force for generations to come.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Jake Butler