Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ommadon - V (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 4/8/2014
Label: Burning World, 
Domestic Genocide, 
Dry Cough Records

‘V’ DD/LP, track listing:

1). V1 47:15
2). V2 39:24

Bio:

Ommadon record heavy doom by ourselves in the forest in the highlands of Scotland - all live, no overdubs, no bullshit, just pure doom. Split across 4 sides of vinyl, the double LP was mastered by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Eyehategod, High on Fire, etc).

V will be released as a 180gram double-vinyl (gatefold) on August 4th but is available for pre-order now from Dry Cough Records (UK), Burning World Records (Netherlands), and Domestic Genocide Records (USA)

The Band:

David Tobin | Guitar
Ewan Mackenzie | Drums, keyboards

Review:

Ommadon’s ‘V’ is a massive album in just about any way that you might want to measure an album. Sonically, it’s gargantuan and weighing in at an hour and twenty six minutes, it’s also a colossal time investment. The obvious question would be: is it worth it? I would have to imagine that the range of experiences that people will have with this album are going be all over the spectrum. I could envision someone being infuriated by the length of an album with such a narrow direction. I could also see someone enjoying the challenge of trying to sync themselves with the seemingly structureless nature of the album. It’s easy to get lost in an album like this unless you prepare yourself for what you’re getting into.

The omnipresent elements of ‘V’ are always the same: crashing downbeats, heavy chords sustained for long periods of time and woozy guitar sliding occasionally found in the interim. There are some moments of respite; most notably in the second half of “Side B” leading into the opening third of “Side C”. Guitar drone and noise take center stage before coming back to the deliberate bludgeoning characterised during the album’s earlier stages. Because of its length, there might be an inclination to call ‘V’ epic, but I feel like that would be a bit misleading. Rather than taking you on some vast musical journey, Ommadon seems content to stay in one place and crack your ribs with a sledge hammer over and over again. I don’t mean that as an insult, either. They’re dealing in a very confined musical space, and yet they’ve gotten so much out of it. It’s really pretty remarkable in that way.

In a sense, Ommadon have released one of the least commercial albums I’ve ever heard. There aren't any drum beats sustained for any real length of time until you get into the second half of Side C, so for the most part there isn't any groove to get into. Even when the more traditional drumbeats do show up; they usually just collapse into to a crawl when they started out walking. This album is perfectly happy giving you a series of aural stab wounds for the majority of ninety minutes.  It’s too repetitive to just be doom and it’s way too jarring to be drone. There are no vocals or lyrics communicating a message for you to hold on to or to take with you. You’re there to take its beating, and that is it. I know it really sounds like I’m writing a negative review; but I’m not.

If you want some reference points based on other albums, I can give you a couple. Imagine an album where the overall production sounds like an updated version of Thorr’s Hammer’s ‘Dommedagsnatt’, but was musically more like a completely derailed ‘Rampton’ from Teeth of the Lions Rule the Divine. It’s like that, except there are likely hundreds more downbeats on this album. I feel like I need to reiterate that I actually love this album. I love this album because it’s so preposterously barbaric and for such an extended period of time and it’s beyond excessive. It’s an absolute endurance test, and by the end of it I was not the same as I’d come into it. There aren't a lot of albums you can say that about.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

Pre-Order or buy the LP the links below.  Digital copy if available for free here

Burning World: burningworldrecords.com/item/v-double-lp

Dry Cough: www.facebook.com/DryCoughRecords?fref=ts

Domestic Genocide: www.domesticgenociderecords.com

For more information:



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