July 16, 2014

Owl - Into the Absolute

Written by Matt Hinch.

It seems I'm late to the Owl party, having missed last years's You Are the Moon, I Am the Night. I'll get my ears on that in good time but for now we'll stick to the majesty of follow-up EP Into the Absolute. The songs here are shorter than on the LP but that by no means says anything about their depth. Each track is full of layers, moods and auras. Obsidian tones, cascading melodies, dynamic percussion and diverse vocals coalesce with captivating synths to create four gorgeous and emotionally abundant movements.

The brilliant title track leads the way with a dooming discord stumbling into the hammering riff that follows. Its needle-like potency infects the listener wholly. It feels like someone's driving nails, nay, uncommonly sharp hot iron spikes deep into your skull. “Into the Absolute” is a kaleidoscope of darkness and emotion. The same can be said of the EP as a whole. As the colours shift and fade new auras crystallize. Terror, pain, grief, despair, and triumph all ascend and fall into place. Making the second track “We Ascend As We Fall” all the more appropriate.

Its churning black metal is run through with ominous synths and unsettling guitars masked by the driving rhythms. The track plumbs the depths and soars to great heights buffeted by airy synths, bleeding-heart melodies and a vocal duality that reminds one of Mike Scheidt.

The instrumental “Apparition” is all synths, lonely guitar melodies and booming tribal, marching percussion. It speaks of ancient doom and a fear of the unknown.

Closer “Unearthly Arcana” is dark and brooding, mixing tempos amidst a heavy fog. Militant BM percussion opens up into post-metal heartache. The melodies are swollen with sorrow but as has come to be expected on the EP Owl dig deep and pull triumph from desperation to emerge into the light.

Into the Absolute is utterly beautiful on a number of levels. The synths are both ominous and inviting. Sterling melodies weave intricate paths around the soul. A dynamic approach to blackened death/doom runs the gamut from pure evil to joyous exultation, and the multifarious vocals speak with the breadth of voices clamouring for attention in the mind of a tortured soul. Into the Absolute is brilliantly transcendent, philosophically manifold and worthy of your utmost attention.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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