Label: Season of Mist
Date: July 16th, 2021
I never have and likely never will understand bands like this. To be honest, the Icelandic quintet is quite a bit different and has an unmistakable identity among the progressive death metal bands, but the opening sentence of this review still stands. The one thing I’m taking out of the prolonged listening session is that Ophidian I is made up of extremely talented musicians. Without a single composing virtuoso within.
What I mean is that these ten songs serve the purpose of showing off the individual skills. If I had to provide a picture using other bands for comparison I would say that Ophidian I sounds like Spawn Of Possession with Yngwie Malmsteen on guest guitar. Adding some of that Swedish death metal feeling of the new millennium, alike what In Flames are doing lately.
The omnipresent lead guitars, often sounding like a solo, are extremely melodic, thus leaving all the brutality almost completely up to the rhythm section. This way, I get the feeling of two bands playing side by side. However, these two elements are combined well and make for the above mentioned identifier for Ophidian I. Still, with the arrangements being all over the place, the album feels like doing math on meth.
Perhaps the correct course of action for the Icelanders would be to more carefully examine what made later era Death, early Cynic, the mentioned Spawn Of Possession, Necrophagist or Meshuggah so spectacular. It’s the songs they left behind that make us still mention them. Not their unquestionable individual instrumental mastery. And when it comes to songs themselves, “Desolate” is… Well, desolate.
The cover artwork is extremely cool, but the rest is, unfortunately, forgettable.