Ohdaith are an intriguing little project, getting incrementally better from the cover of their darkened shrine.
Their brief demo from a while back did a good job of whetting the appetite for their atmospheric darkambient material, and this cassette expands upon it with some interesting ideas.
The fact that this tape is coming out on Human Jigsaw records – run by From The Bogs Of Aughiska svengali Connor – is a vote of confidence and solidarity with this style of music.
We had ‘The Haunting Of The Amergin The Druid’ last time round. This updated version sounds marginally different (or maybe I’m just hearing things I want to), but all the same, it’s a moody piece.
Of much greater interest this time round are the two new tracks, ‘Nazarene’ and ‘Winters Reign’.
They maintain the project’s musical signature of detuned gravelly vocal reciting dark incantations over haunting, bleak textured soundscapes.
Under normal circumstances I’d ridicule the lyrics of ‘Nazarene’. Taken outside the music they sound a bit juvenile, transforming the ‘Our Father’ in a manner done a thousand times before.
Yet placed over this creepy, vaguely industrialised synth work, highly reminiscent of Raison D’Etre and Brighter Death Now, the detuned vocals really work.
The slow, insistent beat hammers it all home. I also like the subtlest hint at electronica in the just about detectable pulsations of the bass tones.
Dark Age Of Reason
‘Winters Reign’ is even more impressive again.
It takes the choral, Gregorian ‘aaaaaahs’ of early Arcana (think ‘Dark Age of Reason’ period) and adds a sharp, blade like striking beat over the top for what becomes a really, really rich track.
Darkambient is a much under investigated genre, and should be checked out in general by all fans of truly dark music. It’s heartening to know that we now have a small cadre of acts trying this out in Ireland.
Even better that it’s up to the high quality that this tape is.
I think if Ohdaith can just push himself to some real moments of subtlety and musical depth next time, we could really be talking great things. For now this tape is an excellent continuation of the project’s development.
3.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 22/07/15