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Parzival – Ordalium

by Alan G at 17 May 2022, 6:55 PM

“Ordalium” by psychospiritual metal outfit PARZIVAL has finally been pitched! This hotly anticipated release by the Copenhagen, prog-inspired outfit, fronted by the prodigal baritone of frontman, Dimitri Bablevskii, tailors to niche Metalcore audiences as well as fans of the Occult Metal genres. Previous musical projects from this troupe include “The Golden Bough”. This esteemed Metal semblance are veteran to the metalcore scene, Bablevskii has been active for over twenty-five years. Their ambitious back catalogue harks back to 1992, their debut being 1994’s “Giselle”. The hallmark of this numinous act has always been the exhilaration of their frontman’s deep vocal overture. Slightly disturbing, and meant to provoke, this inciteful offering is certainly not for the faint of heart.

The lurching, chopping, pseudo-classical regularity presented on “Ordalium”’s four, ten-minute tracks summons everyone from German techno-metal outfit DISTURBED to the subtle orchestral arrangements of Hector Berlioz. The paladinesque mythos of this death-chant, horn-driven sequences recapitulate something out of ENNIO MORRICONE’s cinematographic, we also see these features demonstrated in defining Track one, “Petty Pride”. The Baritone vocal on the track is indeterminate, lacking cadence to those unfamiliar with the genre, nevertheless, this decadent track is quite harrowing, evoking darkwave sensibilities. The track possesses variegated harsh brass alongside rueful string arrangement, the accompanying soprano backing-vocal adds some texture to what an otherwise dark and trembling overture, appearing like something from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This desolate track closes in groaning dissonance, a merging of horns and static.

The album establishes themes that are recurrent throughout, track two, “Bottomless Pit” espouses a distant chorus and encircling baritone that is interpolated by tympanic sections with driving guitar distortion. The overall timbre borders on the shock effect of a stark vocal performance. The searing soundscape of the howling bagpipes are introjected alongside harrowing choral vocality. In any event, this strobing metal soundscape is wholly original. The orchestral arrangements present a nice touch to a vocal cadence that may dismay some despite its dexterity and originality. Nevertheless, with this offering, PARZIVAL will not disappoint their fanbase, particularly back home in Denmark.

Track three: “Toads and Vipers” begins with the Sonic hum of a stream of effects, stacked with more amped guitar distortion. As the precarity of the vocal overture drives forth with anagogic intensity, bellowing forth we are greeted with a dark litany of moaning and bells. Once again, we are presented with a grim vestige of cinematographic overtures. This track is also introjected in the mid-section by a great lull before the recurrent stab of strings returns to wreak havoc. These elements of experimentation are a coup de grace in a project that is rather too grim for mainstream audiences.

Track four: “Island of Despair” is a similarly dark adventure, with defining piano intro and distorted guitars summoning a soundscape that is once again a threnody to desolation. To close the track, a foraying crescendo of guitar zen with interweaving harmonies coalesce in a droning and painful boon. Overall, PARZIVAL’s theatrical and performative retendering of occult metal is characterized by an iconoclasm that is certainly noteworthy and surprising, even to the most ardent fan of experimental metal, deploying an interesting combination of overdrive metal with neo-classical elements.

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

Overall: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Petty Pride
2. Bottomless Pit
3. Toads and Vipers
4. Island of Despair
Dimitrij Bablevskii
Sergey Litvinoff
Paul Russanoff
Mikhail Cockorin
Record Label: Moondrop Records


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