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Theoptia – Horeb

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 28 August 2019, 6:29 AM

THEOPTIA is a Progressive Death Metal solo-project by Emanuel Strebel from Switzerland.  Thesongwriting process for the project’s debut album “Horeb” began in 2015, it was recorded in May 2017 and will was digitally released on the 21th of October 2017.“Horeb”is a short,heavy,melancholic,dramatic and sometimesforeign sounding concept albumabout the mythologicalbiblicalfigure of Elijah. Big lyrical themes are suicidal thoughts, depression, and an unexplainable, transcending and epic encounter with a cosmic, almighty God.The album contains nine tracks.

“Desert” leads off the album. It opens with a bit of an Asian flavor, but then the vocals and main riff drop and drop hard. Technical and Progressive, it flows in and out of harshness and more ambient moments. Emmanuel has a very strong voice. “Get Up” opens with more of that Middle Eastern flair, from what sounds like a sitar. The main riff then comes in and the vocals are ultra-low. Try to count the meter…you cannot. He toys with the meter like a puppet master pulling the strings on his subject. “Forty” is a bit of a longer song, coming in at close to five minutes in length. It has a slightly depressing sound. The vocals vary from guttural utterances to screams. An ambient passage occupies the middle section of the song, then it’s back to the stronger sound.

“The Only Survivor” opens with a little more melody than previous tracks. The staccato riff pattern is akin to MESSHUGAH. Following an ambient passage, a guitar solo makes an appearance. It flows nicely with the melody of the song. “Silence” is quick two-minute instrumental that builds from start to finish. Opening with some bass guitar thuds and a bit of atmosphere, it is soon joined by clean guitars and a despondent but alluring feeling. “Storm” opens with what sounds like thunder. Something wicked this way comes. The riff is a staccato form of attack, running up and down a scale with dexterity. Then this wave of keys hits you and takes you to a different dimension. Strebel really stretches his vocals here. This is a strong song for sure.

“Quake” is a deeper sounding song with more aggressiveness. The lead guitar parts are in that Middle Eastern flair once again. But the real winner here is the precise cadence and how the vocals work with it. Some effects are used here to really bring the song to life. “Fire” opens with a solitary guitar and the feeling of something ominous looming, It doesn’t take long for the main riff to drop, with an odd meter. Strebel’s vocals are especially gravely here. “A Gentle Whisper” closes the album, featuring melancholic clean guitars and a feeling of despondence. It’s the perfect closing song for this album…ending with the theme of suicidal thoughts and depression…but that final note is…well, hopeful.

Overall, this was a fascinating journey through the eyes of one man. He’s weaved a web of multi-faceted layers of Technical and Progressive sounds with dark, angry vocals, and a touch of the unconventional with those Middle Eastern influences. Those hearty accents and vocals that give off an air of vulnerability and truly unique. They remind me of a few bands in the Progressive Death Metal genre but what he has created here is his alone. If you are a fan of the genre, definitely pick this up.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Desert
2. Get Up
3. Forty
4. The Only Survivor
5. Silence
6. Storm
7. Quake
8. Fire
9. A Gentle Whisper
Emmanuel Strebel – Everything


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