O.68 – Elend …   Leave a comment

0.68, otherwise known as Odpörovät 1968 is a one man funeral doom project from Germany. Odpörovät 1968 is reference to a revolutionary occurrence that happened in the Czech Republic. Before I go any further, I must mention the excellent packaging of “Elend,” it looks incredible with a matt-black, two-pocket gatefold sleeve, printed with silver ink and containing a glossy booklet. The label, Ominous Silence have done an amazing job with this and other bands and labels should take note – if you want your album to stand out, this is the kind of packaging you need. Across 8 tracks that range from 5 to 16 minutes this is a funeral dirge of the most despairing kind. This album is nearly 70 minutes of nothing but tales of pain and suffering set to dark ambient musical sections, bass-heavy distorted guitars and a dense, morbid atmosphere but I will get the negatives out-of-the-way first. Being a one-man band he uses, you guess it – a drum machine and it is a very weak drum-machine sound at that. These songs could have been so much more grand and heavy if it wasn’t for this rather cheap and very artificial drum sound. It takes away a great deal of atmosphere and sounds at odds with the pummeling low-end of the guitar. The man behind the dirge is Dusan Belohlavek who is obviously very talented with a great musical vision for making doom-metal so it is a shame he couldn’t have used a real drummer as this recording needs it to make it complete. There is then, a certain level of frustration while listening to this, I can imagine how these songs should sound and it is not like this. If you can ignore that however, you are left with a very good album that is dense, multi-layered and very well constructed. You can tell a hell of a lot of work has gone into these tracks as the level of precision and intelligent composition is stunning.

The album opens with the 14 minute “Mournau” that is one of the more straightforward funeral doom tracks on the disc. This track is the meaning of funeral-dirge as it is a tortured filled 14 minutes but it is overly long for my tastes with not enough ideas and variation to keep it interesting. The lyrics on this album are obsessed with death and you may wish your own death would hurry up and happen by the end of this track as it is not exactly riveting entertainment, even by funeral-doom standards. The album, however gets far more dynamic in the second cut, “Nothing But Death Remains” which is very different from the opening piece. It is rhythmically more complex with some unexpected twists like the Sabbathian riff that comes out of nowhere halfway through the track. The vocals which are a combination of croaks and sickening gurgles are not something usually admired by yours truly but they seem to suit the music here. Also unique is Odpörovät 1968 have a few stoner-doom passages with a Black Sabbath vibe and that is something you don’t hear too often within funeral-doom and that gives the album a semi-original tone and feel. Third track, “Kremation” is a good example of these stoner-doom inflections as it has a groove-rock feel while still remaining firmly within the realms of funeral doom. Songs like this one have a melodic hook not normally heard in this genre of doom metal. “Abkehr” and “Mother Of Negation” continue in a similar vein with “Mother Of Negation” being one of the albums highlights. Again, it is funeral doom with a strong stoner-doom vibe so it is strangely catchy.

“Zeitgeist Nokturne” delivers more surprises with an upbeat intro before settling down into funeral dirge mode once again. The following track, “Mortal” features samples which this album has a lot of, sometimes it is great and really boosts the atmosphere but in the case of “Mortal” it is a disaster as it is nothing more than a collage of ringing church bells that is irritating to the ears. The last track is the epic “The Lowest Day” which is a breath-taking blend of crawling funeral doom, stoner grooves and dramatic ambient sections with a progressive rock edge. Even though this track is well over 15 minutes long, it flows remarkably well and is very hypnotic at times. Without a doubt one of the albums best tracks. This album is diverse, bleak, hypnotic but also has some infectious grooves that at times seemingly come out of nowhere. It is a good mixture of the simple and the complex and the atmosphere is unique, I can’t think of another album that sounds like this one. The man behind all this is a visionary and an intriguing musician that has produce a very ambitious album. It is such a pity, he had to use a drum machine which quite frankly makes this recording sound more like a ‘demo’ than a professional release. If this album was re-recorded with a real drummer and some fine-tuning in the production, this could easily be one of the best albums of its kind ever released. As it is, it is lacks the big sound it deserves. I still urge you to take a listen as I think you will want to buy this anyway, despite its flaws……7/10
0.68 @ MySpace
Ominous Silence Records

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Posted March 1, 2011 by doommantia in Uncategorized

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