Ophis
Spew Forth Odium

Up until 2017s The aptly named The Dismal Circle, I was unfamiliar with Germany’s death-doom veterans Ophis (‘snake’), but that album was a solid effort with some suitably crumbling, hefty death/doom that had strains of classic Morgion engrained in the moping lumbers. And that has continued for album number 5, and is possibly even a little heavier and better than The Dismal Circle.

The formula is still the same, even with a lineup shuffle that sees 1/2 the band different from The Dismal Circle, with a new drummer and guitarist joining the founding core of vocalist/guitarist Philipp Kruppa and bassist Oliver Kröplin. Oliver Carrell, again produces, but things seem a little heftier, especially the bottom end, where some of the moments are crushing. But the band is still delivering exceptional death-doom, with slightly over an hour of crippling music with 6 rangy songs that generally don’t tug on your heartstrings like some of the more emotional death/doom (My Dying Bride, Draconian etc), but slowly stomp on them and grind them to dust.

Again, I stand by the Morgion comparison, especially the Among Majestic Ruin era, as Ophis, as I mentioned above don’t really dwell on the more emotive, despondent side of doom but more on the crushing, crippling second stage or grief (‘anger’) with a few hints of the 4th stage (‘depression’). All mostly rendered with heaving, loping riffs , which again seems a tad heavier than the last album, and pained growled screamed vocals. There are no clean vocals, no female vocals, no cellos, and nothing that delivers any sense of hope or light amid the monstrous lumbering songs.

But unlike The Dismal Circle which really didn’t have any true standout moments, despite a high level of consistency, Spew Forth Odium has a couple that makes the album a little more memorable and replayable. For example “Conflagration Eternal”, which has both a massive more death metal paced opening rumble and a rare, gorgeously morose close out that’s more in line with some of their more emotive peers. “Temple Of Scourges” closes with a huge, thunderous, despondent lurch. “The Perennial Wound” has some brief churchy keys, and also features another massive, if short closeout.

Album closer “The Stagnant Roon” is the album’s longest cut at 13 and a half minutes, and is a suitably crawling, dense number with a slight layer of despondency but never truly crushes you with depression (even with a nice acoustic break and spoken word bridge) and the late black metal blast beat came a nice surprise. But shows that while a very good act, they aren’t quite up there with some of the genre’s legendary, seminal, influential death/doom bands of yore, but certainly a very competent modern band doing the genre justice.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 22nd, 2021

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