Monday, July 23, 2012

Ophidian I - Solvet Saeclum

Review by Dane Prokofiev.

Cover by Marco Hasmann

The metallic razor-sharp band logo, the polished look of the artwork and its cartoonish depiction of human extinction via the extremely plausible natural disaster of having two planets and possibly a moon or dwarf planet crashing down on what is assumed to be Earth, causing a great fire and igniting rockets to fly up into space and somehow wiping out every human but a serpentine mutant holding a spear all seem to suggest that this album is certain to be the work of a typical modern technical death metal band from a typical European country. Your musical instinct is spot-on about the typical modern technical death metal part, but it is not for the other. Ophidian I come from a country seldom heard being mentioned in metal press: Iceland, despite that they play a brand of technical death metal that is remarkably reminiscent of the kind being peddled by their European and American peers.

They have the technical edge and high-pitched guitar soloing style of Arsis (USA), and a vocalist who does guttural growls just like his peers in Spawn Of Possession (Sweden) and Gorod (France); although ultimately, the brutal vocal style could be an American influence too since it is very similar to Frank Mullen’s vocal style. However, the very European style of having an audible bass guitar line (gasp!) harmonize with a single (or more) electronic guitar motif while being accompanied by rustling drum cymbals in the background can be heard occasionally, with two examples being the introductions to “Mark Of An Obsidian” and “Nadir”. This aspect of Ophidian I’s musical style is most remindful of another European peer, Obscura, and it would certainly do the band good to utilize this heart-thumping motif more frequently. As it stands, their current music sounds up-to-par with the demanding standard of modern technical death metal. All Ophidian I needs is to explore more creative directions, to sound a little less typical in the future.


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