Album: The Eternal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: 12 May 2023
Format Reviewed: high-quality digital recording
Happened to hear this album in May and it immediately grabbed my attention. Why? Well, I love black metal, love the bitterly savage, mind destroying and addicting soundscapes created in black metal albums. No, not all black metal bands do this, no sir. The variety of sound present in the black metal sub-genre today is becoming more and more about anything goes, but I digress. Today I’m letting you know why Óreiða needs to be on your list of music to check out if you haven’t already.
Óreiða takes your mind, cracks it open and lets you know: you need to hear more, see more, acknowledge more of the otherworldliness that exists in music that was meant to take you elsewhere. A pause, fills your mind with the build up of what comes next, the moody toned, trance-like, and dream of darkness and awareness of who you are awaits you in this album. To take a direct quote from the solo band member, Thor, this is what he said about the making of this album:
“What begins as an attempt to get a deeper understanding of my connection with nature evolves into the relationship nature has to the planet, planet to solar system, solar system to universe and the universe to the eternal. With chaos. With the eternal static.”
Thor, at the time of the making of this album, had a relentless internal gaze fixed upon himself to understand himself better. From this introspective view, “The Eternal” was created. The Myth of Sisyphus also plays a part in this album’s creation, especially Albert Camus’ point of view.
Short, quick history musically of Óreiða, shows the beginning of the band approximately in 2016 with the release of a demo. Spanning the years from 2017 to now, Óreiða has released a further demo, split album, live album, and two full-length albums with “The Eternal” being the third album. Porir G. Jonsson (Thor) is listed as the sole band member.
Let’s go to five tracks, roughly 36 minutes of the otherworldly, thought-provoking scenery in this album, beginning with “The Path”.
A decidedly punk-inspired starting riff to begin, with the tremolos building and breaking off in a pattern. Dreamy mindscape music wends into the guitar and the drums stay constant at a slower pace. A slowing pace to a single guitar riff plays out, sounding heavy and sinister, to then mix into that dreamy, cloud lightness of sound first introduced. Next, we have a haunted wind sound flowing through the layers already there and becoming that contemplative sound to just lose yourself in.
Following is “The River” like a dam not being able to hold back the water, it bursts out to edgy tremolo picking and more of the, in this case, some instrumental flute sounds to lay on top of the guitar. Much harsher noted than the way “The Path” began. An interlude of more of that eerie sounding, contemplative guitar/and instrumental flute/keyboard notes keep layering in and yes, this dreamy, sound entrances you. The close of the track is the harsher, industrial noted sound that seems to propel you into your own mind’s locked passages.
Next is “The Climb” which builds a wall of sound around you, sounding saddened, and angry, without any kind of resolution in sight. Guitar, drums, and keyboards have a murky tone to them, like being underwater and the sense of drowning in the depths. This is an epic display of black metal mood setting, of falling into this darkened, dreamy trance and writhing.
“The Apex” has a more sinister, discordant, note in tremolos to start. Has a slight droning, doomy effect, and yes, the trance is starting.
Finally, “The Eternal” has a beautiful melancholic note within the guitar and drums, and the keyboarding of the lighter, airier sound. Such variation of sound in this track, from the droning back sound, heavier, arduous slower timed tremolos, drums, and the cloud music (I’ll call it) all meld in and out of the pattern. It crescendos abruptly and finishes at the close of this track, leaving you with sense of wanting to hear more.
Óreiða to me, is that masterful blend of bitterly cold, isolated, psychedelic, atmosphere set in a trance-like delivery that at first does not sound like anything that could capture interest, but then the tracks evolve, lending themselves to a dreamier, dark toned sound that also offers some airier portions as well. This combination works for this album, and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys being entranced by epic black metal soundscapes. 7.5/10 Metal Marie
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