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Bihargam – Ove Tenebre

Ove Tenebre
by Brian Lowrie at 31 October 2020, 1:33 PM

It can be a bit difficult to put a pin in exactly what genre any band is, especially when heavy music has been able to break off into several subsections of itself; even more so, those subsections tend to be combined with other subsections, and so on. For their new record “Ove Tenebre”, Kentucky band Bihargam call themselves a Grim Black Metal” band, but upon listening to the record, there is apparently something else lying under the surface, and I can’t put a dang finger on it for the life of me. There seems to be a lacking of the dreariness and melancholy that I love about black metal, but it certainly feels black.

The album opens with “The Inanimate Son”, immediately bringing in a head-bobbing groove that switches places often with a conventional black metal-style chord passage, complete with blastbeats and a high, goblin-like scream. It feels a little more like a traditional “verse-chorus” song style, but it manages to shift gears successfully in the later half of the track. “The Fool” sounds mostly influenced by newer-school thrash metal in its pacing, but crosses it with the style of symphonic black metal similar to Emperor (save for the lack of over-the-top symphonic/sample passages). The most peculiarly titled track, “The Shadow Egg”, maintains that reputation by feeling the most black-metal out of the songs so far, but still maintains the aura of the previous tracks. The verses galloping guitars are overlayed with steady double-bass drum and blastbeats; as much as these tropes tend to be sort of haven for me, the contrasting nature between the stringed instruments and the drums does tend to be a little confusing, causing the overall tempo to feel “off”.

“The Seven” starts in the same vein of bands like Watain, but eventually fuses this style with the dynamics heard previously. This track also tends to feel a little whimsical with the note choices, and at the end feels like a mash of riffs that don’t flow together. “The Metallic Consciousness”, on the other hand, feels much more coherent, thanks to an overhead swinging rhythm that never loses the listener, despite the varying tempos that are displayed in this song. But, of course, at the 4:45 mark of the track, the band does away with everything built up thus far and decides to take a hard left turn into a thrashier approach, and I can’t help but feel both unsurprised and cheated out of something much more grandiose that should have happened. Keeping in with this thrash influence, “The Foul” pushes for a neckbreak pace for the entirity of the song, yet attempts to keep their rambunctious reputation thus far. It’s one of the more entertaining efforts of the album, and carries a certain angst about it that never loses steam.

“The Church of Industrial Saints” begins exactly as the title implies with a more industrial metal sounding guitar riff, and breaks into one of their slower riffs soon after. This track feels like a bit like the black sheep of the record, keeping a marching pace through most of it; unfortunately, my favorite melody of the song is the rung-out chords, and it would have benefited from being a focal point rather than a transitional melody. Closing out the album with “The Screaming Planet”, we finally get to hear Bihargam’s more melodic black metal side; clocking in at just over 8 minutes, the album’s opus is the strongest and most coherent track so far, managing to give an ebb and flow to their riff choices, despite scarcely revisiting melodies; for this reason, this track is probably what I would consider to be my favorite
After listening to this album several times, I still can’t figure out why it’s not sticking to me. It could be chalked up to the band being relatively new, and still attempting to find their sound; It could also be that feeling of lacking, that I mentioned earlier. At the end of the day, I have to conclude that this album isn’t something that I would personally replay much often, if at all, and that isn’t something I can fault the band for. After all, the views I express in my reviews may or may not reflect your own views, and I hope someone out there can grasp this album better than I can, because I still think there is something there for this band, it might just take an album or two for them to really hit their stride.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. The Inanimate Son
2. The Fool
3. The Shadow Egg
4. The Seven
5. The Metallic Consciousness
6. The Foul
7. The Church of Industrial Saints
8. The Screaming Planet
“The Metalbaron” – Vocals, All Instruments
Chris Carver – Bass
Scott Briggs – Drums
Nick Stewart – Vocals
Record Label: Snow Wolf Records


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