Thursday 28 March 2013

Officium Triste - Mors Viri Album Review

Officium Triste - Mors Viri

9 March 2013

The band:

Lawrence Meyer - bass guitar
Bram Bijlhout - guitars
Gerard - guitars
Martin Kwakernaak - keyboards
Pim Blankenstein - vocals
Niels Jordaan - drums


1. Your Fall From Grace 07:15
2. Burning All Boats And Bridges 06:03 
3. Your Heaven, My Underworld 05:36
4. Interludium 01:37
5. To The Gallows 06:58
6. The Wounded And The Dying 06:35
7. One With The Sea (Part II) 03:23
8. Like Atlas 10:08

First of all I have to confess to the fact that I need to wear the dunce hat and go stand in the corner while I ponder upon my laziness and tardiness. What I mean is I have heard about Dutch funeral doomers Officium Triste for years and since I like this genre I don't know why I haven't paid attention to them. After all they have released demos, EPs and full-length albums on and off since 1994 and still I have ignored them. Shame on me but better late than never to discover great bands, right?

As much as I love funeral doom it is a tricky genre in the way that it is a narrow style with not much room to expand. The shackles of the genre means that much of talent out there that falls flat on their asses because they, the bands, straight up plagiarize each other or simply repeat themselves song after song. Officium Triste, on the other hand, are at the other end of the spectrum. Apart from being excellent musicians they know all the trappings of funeral doom and avoids them elegantly...and they should since they've been at it for 19 years.

The backbone of Mors Viri is traditional funeral doom, slow-paced and melancholic with lyrics to match. Simply checkout some of the song titles and you know what I mean: Your Fall From Grace; Burning All Boats And Bridges; Your Heaven, My Underworld; To The Gallows and The Wounded And The Dying. Lyric-wise the album is not for the faint of heart since it tells tales of death, depression and misery. Contrary to many other funeral doom bands Officium Triste, albeit being heavy, rely on a lot of melody, softer tones if you like, which brings out their vision excellently. Most bands would display more of a doom/death approach but by going the opposite direction, Officium Triste have not only created a great album, they have also broadened the genre immensely.

All that I have mentioned earlier about the band is best presented in the track Your Heaven, My Underworld. Starting off with a simple but yet very effectful piano passage from Martin that continues throughout almost the entire track, the rest of the band joins in after about a minute letting the song really take off. Bram and Gerard's interplay on guitars let's everything soar all while Pim's gruff vocals brings out the grimness of the song. And as in all the other songs on Mors Viri Lawrence and Niels, bass guitar and drums respectively, keeps it all together elegantly.

After the short Interludium, To The Gallows picks it up and is the perfect continuation of Your Heaven, My Underworld both lyrically and musically. So this trio of songs showcases the beauty, elegance and bleakness that is Officium Triste.

Don't hesitate people, go out and get this one. I, myself, am going to go down memory lane and check out their past. This band is far too good to be ignored and overlooked. Maybe I am preaching to the converted but that doesn't matter, bands like Officium Triste should be out there for everyone to explore, so do your part. Spread the! Because Mors Viri is a great album by a great band, 'nuff said!

Written by Håkan Nyman

Another great review by Håkan. I agree with everything that Håkan has written. A superb album and one that is Highly Recommended.

Check out the band from the links below: