“It’s black metal, Jim, but not as we know it.” If we take the simile that a band’s development is akin to a tree’s – roots form to build a sturdy trunk – then the trees in Ophidian Forest are, to quote, “a forest whose trees and vegetation are so thick and tangled that they resemble a vast miasma of snakes.” Branching out into manifold directions on their fourth album, VotIVe, the result is a masterclass in truly progressive black metal that embarks on a tour of forgotten pagan gods in the pantheon.
From start to finish there’s a sense of unease as you walk through the forest. Eerie keyboard and synths often takes the lead (“Sandraudiga”), while Otrebor’s drumming resembling clattering twigs tossed around in a storm. The guitar work – provided by new face D. (Book of Sand) – has a shape-shifting tone that suits the myriad of moods VotIVe presents: at times depressing, other times awe-filled or menacing. Guiding us through it all, narrator Amalgamoth maintains a steady rasp full of mystique and raw power.
It is remarkable that the band sound so cohesive as a unit, considering none of them have met in person – Otrebor lives in California, D. elsewhere in the U.S., and Amalgamoth in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, VotIVe sounds phenomenal, far crisper and richer than the raw and chaotic approach from whence they came.
Ophidian Forest may have spent ten years toiling on the forest floor, but VotIVe sees them ascend to the tree tops. Code666 have truly found a gem here, one which does justice to the pre-Christian gods and to the band’s grandiose vision.
Ophidian Forest will release VotIVe on 26th October 2018
FFO: Botanist, Book of Sand, Entropia
Amalgamoth – Vocals, Keys & Synths. Otrebor (Botanist) – Drums. D. (Book of Sand) – Bass, Guitar & various other instruments.
Ophidian Forest – The Imminent
Ophidian Forest – The Church is Empty
Ophidian Forest links:
Band location – Netherlands and California
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Find out more about Ophidian Forest at Last Fm