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Genus Ordinis Dei - Great Olden Dynasty Award winner

Genus Ordinis Dei
Great Olden Dynasty
by Jose MaCall at 24 November 2017, 1:48 PM

Good evening, Metal warriors. Hopefully you have conquered many, slain even more, and feasted only in victory! Our release this week comes all the way from the land of Italy. A land filled with awesome skull-cracking Metal acts. I was excited to see what GENUS ORDINIS DEI had to offer, as I assumed the possibly Latin title meant some kind of medical condition. Upon taking a gander at the cryptic album cover art, I only grew more curious. All this seemingly occult symbolism coupled with imagery reminiscent of bygone eras. Was I about to need some sort of codex to figure out what was going on? Would I end up in an old cathedral, tugging on candelabras, looking for secret passages?

This is a complex release to describe. It’s a tumultuous medley of chugging riffs mixed with Symphonic elements and melodic scores coupled with legion of harsh vocals and thrashing intensity. Within the first few ripping notes of guitar mayhem, you get a coupling of classical strings joining the melee. This is a prelude to what is found throughout. Every head-banging track features a smattering of the epic. The second song, “You Die In Roma” has a chorus where fanfare joins in the assault. It’s an incredibly ear catching moment to have a song elevate to a more majestic feel in the middle of what is otherwise a solid Metal song. The third song, “Cold Water” is a brutalizing riff-centric detonation of a track which also features a calm piano part. I found the juxtaposition of intensity and serenity to be fascinating, it builds anticipation and it delivers by swinging a sledge hammer of heaviness. In “The Flemish Obituary” a full chorus and organ join the intro riff and make appearances throughout. Simply put, this isn’t your typical Metal release.

This was an album that required several listens to catch everything going on. It was awesome to see how Death Metal can be enhanced by taking from Symphonic Black Metal ethos to make something unique. From a strictly metal standpoint, the basics are fantastic. This would be a solid album even without all the PBS music added in. The chug of the guitars is reminiscent of something like GOJIRA except with a more Melodic tone. There are solos which are most excellent and worthy of horns being raised, for example the song “ID 13401”. The bass and drums pull a fantastic job of tying things together in a genre-bending array of classical influence and fist-pounding Heavy Metal. The vocals are skewed to the guttural and heavy - mostly growls and harsher shouts, though there is a short cameo by a familiar LACUNA COIL member at one point. The mixture of the piano and the other classical instruments I found to be integral to the sound of this band. It doesn’t feel like an afterthought or a gimmick, it’s a collection of thoughtfully composed tracks that add rich layers to the music. In the song “Morten” for example, the guitar and piano work beautifully together to bring some contrast to a thrashing riff. Multiple times throughout this release I found myself being surprised by how much the classical stuff complements the brutality. Whether it was organs or strings or other classical instruments I’m too stupid to identify, the addition was welcome. It gave this release a much more ominous and grand feel. This is what I picture a cool version of Dracula would listen to.

If you want a simple Death Metal assault that is unrelenting in its fury, maybe sit this one out. It’s definitely brutal and loud however this is not about the slaughter. The songs here are carefully paced and plug along with a calculated intensity that makes ample room for the additional harmonies. This is more a march to war than a frantic prison riot. I totally dug this album due to how willing it was to take a chance on something different. Symphonic stuff isn’t unheard of in Metal but this was a successfully executed fusion of Death Metal with classical influences. If you’d like to step outside of your comfort zone a little and take a chance on a more grandiose, ominous style of Extreme Metal, this may be the release for you.

It was really hard to pick bands that this sounds like, however these are bands I thought of while digging this: CALLENISH CIRCLE, ANCIENT MYTH, BAL-SAGOTH, BORKNAGAR, DARK TRANQUILITY, EMPEROR, and MY MATERIAL SEASON.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Unleashed
2. You Die in Roma
3. Cold Water
4. The Flemish Obituary
5. Sanctuary Burns
6. Morten
7. ID 13401
8. Halls of Human Delights
9. Salem
10. Greyhouse 
Lineup:
Steven F. Olda - Bass
Richard Meiz -Drums
Tommaso (Tommy) Monticelli - Guitars
Niccolò (Nick K') Cadregari – Vocals and Guitars
Record Label: Eclipse Records
     


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Edited 17 December 2017
 

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