Funny how the spirit just won’t – nay, cant – die in the hearts of those who make the metal underground.
As the years roll by, it’s often heartening to see who resurfaces time after time for another chase. Some people just can’t be kept down.
On this occasion it’s the welcome return of Cork stalwart Ollie O’Shea (Dominus, For Ruin, Molde etc) to the fray for some raw yet divergent black metal.
Ollie always did things a little differently. It’s been so very long since MI first encountered his Dominus demos – fifteen years ago, as it happens with the first, second then third outings – and the same compliments ring true now as they did then.
Namely that this isn’t strightforward stuff. It’s slightly unhunged, slightly off the wall.
Rust And Bone
The rusty barbarity of ‘Within The Sphere’ is initially a little off putting for its very roughness. There’s zero finesse, but there is a striking speed, and a determination to hit hard right from the first beat.
The real interesting material however lies in ‘Rust In Ruin’ which surely takes notes from the Carl Michael Eide school of oddity; strange chords, a certain fuzzy warmth, and an entry reminiscent of Ved Buens Ende or Virus.
Then again there’s a strain of Attila from round ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ in it for sure. And those aren’t unrelated comparators.
The trollish power chords of ‘The Lizard Cave’ bring a little Darkthrone influence to the for, but again it’s far from obvious, quite where this music comes from, until the speed again takes over, and a sort of Deinonychus (remember him?) feeling creeps in.
Then ‘The Shroud’. What are those chords and where do they come from? Not metal, not always. An excellent blackened shoegaze feel suffuses it, until some early Aura Noir-esque brutality gets its airing.
You can connect the dots here. The influences speak for themselves.
It’s different, takes many spins before really gelling, and for that reason begins to offer its worth slowly rather than immediately.
After a bit of initial distaste (the ropey production), I’ve been surprised by how many times I’ve gone back to it – which pretty much says it all. What I would say though is that the artwork and the band’s photography really isn’t up to much at all, and lets down such intriguing music a bit.
Still, a minor quibble. Great to see Ollie back among the sounds of the underground. And as I said with Dominus all those moons ago… the next record might really be something!
– Earl Grey ::: 18/02/17