Band: Officium Triste
Title: Death of Gaia
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release Date: 13 December 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
Every now and then a band crosses my path, makes me stop dead in my tracks and commands my full attention. Just such a scenario occurred this week, and it was Dutch melodic death/ doom virtuosos OFFICIUM TRISTE that had me mesmerised.
On the 13th of December OFFICIUM TRISTE released their new album “Death of Gaia”, the first full-length release in six years. The timing of the album seems fitting as this year the band also celebrates their 25th anniversary. Formed in 1994 from the ashes of the death metal act Reïncremated, OFFICIUM TRISTE renamed themselves and moved away from their previous death metal style, toward something with a more melodic death/ doom feel, akin to some of the bands from which they sought inspiration: Paradise lost, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, and Entombed to name a few.
Flash forward to 2019 and OFFICIUM TRISTE have had a quarter of a century to master their craft and holy hell, “Death of Gaia” proves that they have achieved this goal. This album could very well be the band’s magnum opus, being 57 minutes of deliciously melodic, heavy, and oppressive death-doom. This album is brimming with gorgeous melodies, juxtaposed by Pim Blankenstein’s forlorn death vocal. For me, experiencing “Death of Gaia” was a little like being lost in a rich and dramatic auditory novel. The ways in which each track contribute to the album, drawing the listener ever-deeper, and evoking a range of responses felt thoughtful and well-structured.
On my first listen-through, it only took two tracks before I was utterly enamoured. “The End is Nigh” and “World in Flames” are gripping tracks and open the album beautifully, featuring mournful and well-placed string and piano arrangements. The deeper you travel into this album the darker and the heavier the burden of the experience becomes. By track three, “Shackles”, you may feel betrayed by the sweet seduction of the melodies because now the atmosphere is thick and feels like a vice grip crushing you with the emotional weight of the album. From this point on, I began to feel like a blacksmith’s anvil and each song was like the deep, heavy swing of the blacksmiths hammer, every thud further moulding the album into a masterfully crafted item.
Everything about this album indicates to me that OFFICIUM TRISTE are indeed master craftsman as the combined effort required to create such a cohesive album must take years to perfect and feels like it could only be achieved by true veterans. I truly hope that this release is not lost in the chaos of the year’s end, as I believe that it is worthy of consideration for the AOTY lists. 9/10 Proua Metallist
9/10 Epic Storm
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