Abaddon magazine

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Friday, December 9, 2022

Review: Ósserp – Els nous cants de la Sibil•la

Label: Eternal Juggernaut Records / Kremón Records / Catábasis Records / Hecatombe Records / Lost Merch / Brutal Arratia Records / Cruzade Records

Date: August 19th, 2022

It’s always cool when you get an actual promotional CD. Makes you feel appreciated by the band, label or PR agency handling the release. However, when you do get it, there’s a couple of things you would like to be included. One of those is quite obvious. The album’s cover. The cardboard sleeve containing “Els nous cants de la Sibil·la” is adorned with the band’s logo and album title on a background that seems as if it belongs to the album’s cover artwork. Like a zoomed-in segment of it.

But I’m not lazy and I needed to find a digital copy of the artwork anyway, for the layout of this review. So I won’t hold it against the band, or Blood Fire Death Promotion that went ahead and sent this CD over.

By the way, take a close look at the list of labels engaged in publishing “Els nous cants de la Sibil·la”. The album is published in every possible format, of course, but that’s still a whole lot of parties involved in this one release. The way I see it, this could only be a testament to the commitment of the band to the underground for the past decade and the amount of contacts and trust therein, that drives all these different entities to work together. Especially on a project like this, that is sure not to bring about dollar signs to anybody’s eyes.

Most of that previous statement comes from the mere fact that the Catalan quintet performs a variation to likely the least commercially successful genre ever, when it comes to heavy metal music. A combination of down-tuned, doomy and heavy as all hell, brutal death metal with equally disfigured and psychedelically crippling grindcore. Plus, they vary in a couple of other factors. Like that (not so) new (anymore) school of melancholic, atmospheric and disharmonic bleach. Those influences make for the grim and gloomy atmosphere that envelopes the album. In combination with the aforementioned roots, it gives a pill hard to swallow. Real hard!

It’s the weight of this record that captures and ravages the listener. There’s not much technicality, creative ingenuity, originality… But the torrential heaviness of mountain ranges simply crushes throughout. As the promotional info sheet suggests, the band looked for the feeling of being but a speck of dust with so much space and time weighing on your miserable shoulders. The essence of the message is conveyed quite flawlessly. Through music that is, because I’m nowhere near an expert in Catalan language and I cannot understand a word that’s uttered here. Well, considering I would even be able to understand anything if I knew the language, for the vocals are not those one easily comprehends.

While on the subject of topics, the band intakes a subtle industrial influence on a couple of occasions. Those are mostly throbbing, pulsating echoes painting the ever-expanding vastness and emptiness of the universe. Making you feel even smaller and less significant on the grand scale of events, Ósserp really leaves little to optimism. Is striving for immortality, one way or another, a lost cause? How long is forever and does it even exist? And many more extremely existential questions that bury your mind in depths unwanted… With my history on depression, perhaps it’s best to leave the words out of this equation.

In any case, “Els nous cants de la Sibil·la” is not for the faint of heart. A dazzling piece of extreme music and thought-provoking at that. With a value that transcends the purely musical standards. A work of art, adorned by a work of art that’s covered on my promotional copy, but remains a cool piece of Renaissance-like mastery.