The Dutch death-doomsters are back and sounding better than ever.
For starters the production is awesome. It is deep, lush, and makes everything sound clear and expansive. Considering the emotional impact of (well done) Doom Metal, the enveloping sound helps further establish the mood.
OT have seven songs (and one interlude) which establish a different identity. "Mors Viri" opens with "Your Fall From Grace", a "romantic loss" style song lamenting the slow demolition of a loved friend due to addiction. The next track switches approaches and rather than romantic loss it focuses on a need to change one's lifestyle by, well, "Burning All Boats And Bridges" to start clean. Later we get the OT wink at one of my favorite doom classics, "To The Gallows", in which the perp willingly accepts their fate? Sorry, they done needed lynching.
One of the other factors that makes this enjoyable is just as the lyrical themes change the music also seems to ramp up in intensity a bit as it goes along. "Your Fall From Grace" is sad, tragic, and a tad symphonic at times, while tracks seem to get slightly harsher as we go, ultimately closing with perhaps the "fastest" of the lot, "Like Atlas."
"Like Atlas" is one of those brilliant closing tracks that incorporates melodies that let you know in no uncertain terms, "this is it, folks, game over, quarter taken? this album is about to end" if you aren't keeping up with the track list.
The musicians do a great job in creating the atmosphere of each song, from doomy riffs to mournful leads, sorrowful keyboard lines? Pim's vocals don't include anything quite as out of the norm as Charcoal Hearts (see: "Love Like Blood"), but beyond the spoken interludes and hellish doomroars, he also tosses in some emotional sung vocals as in the chorus to "To The Gallows."
OT have been making doom for a long time, and while it seems a lot of bands put out their best in their first couple releases, they, instead, are like a good Scotch? getting better with age. The 15 was great, but the 19 even better. (Ok, so Laphroaig used to go 15 to 18, but the point remains even if the math isn't spot on?)
And as with a good Scotch, or an overdue trip to In De Wildeman to meet up with a doomfriend for a few rounds (too many), this one was definitely worth the long wait.