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Oppress. – Regina Mundi

Regina Mundi
by Paul LaPlaca at 12 September 2021, 12:30 PM

UK’S one-man band OPPRESS., returns with “Regina Mundi” the third release in as many years. This is a marked improvement and progression from 2020’s, “No. Pity.” There is still an intentional attempt to keep the production raw and organic but I no longer feel that an engineer is sitting in the studio telling O.G., “That will sound terrible!” And his inevitable response being, “I know.”

“Regina Mundi” is dense, dissonant, dark, and ambient. It’s the sound of mental illness, the last dying breath of a psychotic- fetid and obscene. If music could be haunted, this would be full of ghosts and unnatural spirits. The vocals are more of an incantation than actual singing. Out of all the music I have heard, this is one of the most genuinely terrifying.

The first track, “Diadem of Encrusted Discharge” opens with a spoken line in Italian I think ending on, “…with the dead.” A diadem is defined as, “A jeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty.” Are you starting to get the picture? A crown of bloody, scabby, mucous, and discarded tissue? Musically, the guitar lines are well thought out, the drums wild and unpredictable, and the bass with its own distorted melodic voice. There is no drummer credited here and I would be blown away if this was in fact programmed. The whole vibe here is very live, lo-fi, and under-produced. I like it.

“Ghislane” is oddly a more straight-ahead rocker with punkish elements that breaks into a disturbing blast-beat. The midsection features a really nice trem-picked guitar harmony punctuated by an aggressive bassline. “Oubliette Utopia” again has a wonderful interplay between bass and guitar parts that allow the bass to fully stand on its own. “Hubris Exhalted” has rich and dense chord voicings that have an unsettling drone, almost hypnotizing you while the vocal feels like a nightmare command to do something truly awful.

Overall this EP shows remarkable growth for OPPRESS. Everything from the songwriting, playing, and production to the vocal delivery brings an elevated sense of focus and determination while still staying true to an original black metal aesthetic. There is something lost in the transition though, “No. Pity.” was remarkably horrible, the songs were impossible to understand. There was no structure, it was soaked in reverb and ambiance, a total mess. And I REALLY liked it. If O.G. can find a balance between these two different styles of presentation, that would be amazing.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Diadem of Encrusted Discharge
2. Ghislane
3. Oubliette Utopia
4. Hubris Exalted
O.G. – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Programming
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 24 September 2021

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