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Olio Tähtien Takana - Spectral Katharsis

Olio Tähtien Takana
Spectral Katharsis
by Ian Yera at 09 January 2022, 10:18 PM

OLIO TAHTIEN TAKANA Finnish for Creature Behind the Stars is a two-man Black Metal outfit, and when I say Black Metal, I mean like circa 1992 kind of stuff. Now I know ENSLAVED was inspired by earlier black metal bands, but to me Enslaved’s first two albums (and the demos) really define 90s Black Metal, and I’m going to take a guess and say these guys like Frost a lot. I know it’s low hanging fruit, but that’s the first comparison that comes to my mind. I like the way they use basic keyboards in the background to reinforce the guitar riffs, once again just like Frost. The production is fantastic for a black metal record, it’s just gritty and echoey enough to feel like a 90s record, but it’s a lot easier to hear the layers of sound, just because the production is a lot clearer than most 90s albums. The distortion effect on the guitars is really excellent as it gives the riffs that extra crunch, like stepping on dead leaves as you run around a forest in corpse paint for an hour.

I’ll admit, I don’t really find the album to be that memorable, as enjoyable as it is. I have this issue with a lot of black metal; maybe it’s my fault because I listen to so much prog/power and I’m used to strong hooks and choruses. That being said, there are definitely some great riffs here, I just couldn’t really tell the songs appart right now if you asked. If I had more time to spend with the album I might be able to tell them apart, but unfortunately deadlines (and shear quantity of music I need to listen to) means I don’t always have as much time to get to know an album as I would like. There’s not a lot of variety here, but more importantly this is a good example of a band finding a sound that works and really exploring that niche. One song that does stand out a bit to me was “Journey Through the Most High”, I think that song more than most reminded me of more epic styles of Atmospheric Black Metal. The drone of the rhythm guitar creates a beautiful foundation while the lead guitar creates a gorgeous harmony and counterpoint to the vocals. It’s a short song, but it’s definitely one of the more memorable tracks, as well as one of the only songs with clean vocals (perhaps better characterized as shouting, or loudly exclaiming).I’ll admit, I was hoping for more from the title track, albums often live or die by their longest tracks, and even with 8+ minutes they don’t really try anything different, it kind of just blends in with the rest of the album.

Unfortunately while I did enjoy this album, I found it difficult to remember much of it, and it’s not the kind of album I would want to revisit much. While I give the sound great praise by comparing it to Frost, and I think the production is phenomenal, I just don’t think the songwriting is particularly engaging. Maybe the black metal purists will decry my words, but dammit, I want more variety, yes even in such a homogenous genre as Black Metal, there can be variety and boundaries can be pushed.

Songwriting: 6/10
Musicianship: 8/10
Memorability: 6/10
Production: 9/10

3 Star Rating

1. Intro - Enter the Maw of Souls
2. Towards the Dying Moon
3. Excrusiator
4. A Sorcery Written in Stars
5. Prophecies of Pandemonium
6. Veri kirotussa yössä
7. The Servant’s Heart
8. Journey to the Most High
9. The Labyrinth of Sleepless Dead
10. Spectral Katharsis
11. Ego Aeternum
12. Outro - Into the Everlasting Shadow
V-KhaoZ - All Instruments
Hellwind Inferion - Vocals
Record Label: Avantgarde Music


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