lunedì 13 aprile 2015

Ömheten - Själv

Artist: Ömheten
Album: Själv
Release date: April 11, 2015 (well, kinda. It's available on Spotify and BigCartel now, that's what matters)
Label: Unexploded Records
Genre: Depressive black metal, but they add "suicidal", just so you know it's actually depressed and not some washed-out bullshit.

It's so hard to pull off the "mysterious black metal project" nowadays. This guy (at least from what I gather it's one guy with some friends helping, but more on that later) has a Facebook page. Let that sink for a minute. He went out of his way to choose a pseudonym, he doesn't have a website, he's not featured in the credits, and he has a Facebook page. Times are hard. One of his friends is Fredrik Norrman - yes, the guy from Katatonia. Well, not anymore, but he played with them for sixteen years. Then we have Liz Almqvist playing the cello (kudos for having an actual celloist and not some MIDI tapestry) and Erik Arnberg on the piano. Ömheten is published by Unexploded Records, who aren't big because they're yet to explode.

Surprisingly (because the premise doesn't look great), a lot of things shine. It's not your average atmospheric depressive metal, with ghosts bawling and shaking their chains. This is tight black metal with a strong suicidal atmosphere. Great for Saturday nights. It has a lot of doom influences that work especially well with the piano and cello. It's dark, it's heavy, it's got little interesting touches (like all songs being six minutes and six seconds) that make it sound like it's very well crafted. Stäng av mig, easily the best track on the album, sounds like modern Burzum minus his middle age crisis.

That being said, it sounds gimmicky at times. Norrman apparently really wanted to play in a Shining album, so he's playing like he's a member of Shining. There's something weird in the track order, too: Evig semester från mig själv is the final piece, but it doesn't really work in that place. The whole record (which is 36 minutes long) flows with a purpose, then that purpose is lost.

It's a bit derivative, but if you enjoy the atmosphere you won't mind. There isn't a lot of magic&mystery, it's a "normal" release with some qualities and an approach that hasn't been overdone yet. Instead of focusing on what it could have been, I'd rather say that out of six songs, at least three are a very interesting on depressive black metal. My personal bias for everything with a doom influence might factor into this, however.

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