Monday, 29 September 2014

Ophis - Abhorrence in Opulence (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 5/9/2014
Label: Cyclone Empire

‘Abhorrence in Opulence’ CD/LP track listing:

1. Disquisition Of The Burning (14:54)
2. Among The Falling Stones (12:53)
3. A Waltz Perverse (09:16)
4. Somnolent Despondency (11:52)
5. Resurrectum (11:49)

Bio:

OPHIS [greek: serpent] was founded in the German harbour city of Hamburg in late 2001, as an outlet for its members very own darker sides: an abyssic immersion of slow monolithic Doom Metal and raw, nihilistic and staggering old school Death Metal.

The band steadily became a solid institution among Doom-fans worldwide, collecting a loyal following by constantly playing live all over Europe. After the release of their debut album “Stream of Misery” in 2007, OPHIS toured with Pantheist and Skepticism. Their sophomore record “Withered Shades” (2010)
was praised by the press as one of the best Death/Doom records of the past decade and even won the 2nd place in Metalstorm’s “best extreme Doom album award”, and followed by a tour alongside Ahab and Esoteric.

Recently, Cyclone Empire re-released the debut album and the first EP as a compilation entitled “Effigies of Desolation”, which was accompanied by yet another European tour, this time with Evoken.

OPHIS is musically rooted in the early 90s, yet NOT a retro band, as they push their musical progress onward with every release. This tension grants OPHIS their own niche in a scene dominated by trends, which the band always refused to follow. Lyrically OPHIS are – unusual for a Doom band – observers of society, sometimes even with political undertones. But also personal lyrics dealing with the inner struggles of the members can be found.

The Band:

Phil | guitar, vocals
Martin | guitar
Olly | bass
Nils | drums

Review:

Doom/death straight out of the den of iniquity that is Hamburg, Ophis bring the noise from the off. Having been around for well over a decade, these boys know their business. ‘Disquisition of The Burning’ is slow moving and all distorted bass and sludgy guitar work. The vocals are of the Hooded Menace doom school- low and slow. Some nice double tracking with a higher screech can be heard too and this adds to the expansive sound. The track is nearly fifteen minutes long and this sets the standard for what follows.

‘Among The Falling Stones’ is mournful and melancholy as well as being hate filled to the brim. The album is starting to develop into a real misanthropic delight at this point. At nearly thirteen minutes, there is a lot of room for some chugging riff play along with discordant melodies and crawling despair.

‘A Waltz Perverse’ has a clean guitar intro before things get really filthy over its nine minutes plus length. The track has some faster sections and pinch harmonics here and there to ring the changes. This is positively speedy compared to the earlier tracks. The feel of Dragged Into Sunlight springs (or crawls or slithers) to mind- horrifying stuff for sure!

‘Somnolent Despondency’ sounds just like the title- eerie and mournful while being panoramic in sound and scope. Good solo, too. Listening through this track is an endurance test in itself. It is relentlessly bleak and hostile. Bravo, Ophis, bravo...

‘Resurrectum’ delivers the coup de grace of this aural execution. It is a slow burner (no surprise, there) and builds up nicely with some glowering guitar work that gets heavier and then heavier again. The bass sound is a joy (in a way) throughout- low and dirty with the right amount of distortion. There are some cool rhythmical motifs on display here and double bass drums where they need to be.

No doubt about it, Ophis are masters of their craft. Veteran misanthropes serving up a cold main course of hatred. A fine and bleak album; perfect for the slide towards winter.

Words by: Richard Maw

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