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Tech-Death Tuesday

Listen: Early Stream Of OPHIDIAN I’s Hyper-Melodic New Album, Desolate


Hey there, tech fiends. It's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.

 Like a lot of people, I had no clue that Ophidian I would be dropping a new album this year and no doubt there are a lot of people unfamiliar with the group given that their only prior release came out 9 years ago. So let's try to change that with today's early full stream of Ophidian I – Desolate. Which drops this Friday, July 16th via Season of Mist.

The last time we heard from Ophidian I was back in 2012 when the Reykjavík, Iceland-based group dropped their debut album, Solvet Saeclum, through Unique Leader Records. At first, I was a bit confused as to why Season of Mist would be releasing the group's new album since they didn't sound like the kind of thing that label typically releases. Once the debut single "Diamonds" was released, it all made sense. That song's hyper-melodic approach felt like a completely different band than they did on their first album. A trait that holds true throughout Desolate and caused me to revisit Solvet Saeclum to compare and contrast the differences when writing this piece.

On Solvet Saeclum, Ophidian I was playing a sort of standard technical brutal metal sounds with a somewhat more prominent melodic component than is the norm for that style. Whereas on Desolate, it's like the band inverted themselves, they're now a technical melodic death metal band with the vestigial brutal remnants of their former selves occupying a small but noticeable part of their new music. Of additional note, their brand of technical melodic death metal on Desolate completely diverges from the main drivers of that kind of tech-death, which almost exclusively comes in The Black Dahlia Murder or Arsis-inspired forms. This sounds more like First Fragment playing Dragonforce (sans clean singing and synths) as absurd and possibly goofy as that sounds. I'll be damned if it doesn't work exceedingly well though.

In spite of how over-the-top and frenetic Desolate is much of the time, there are enough breaks within the madness per song to balance things out. The group's refined musicality built up over the years along with their next-level writing ensures that this isn't a mindless blur of forgettable ideas.

Ophidian I comment: "The culmination of all our hard work and passion is finally here! We are beyond proud to present our lives work, our greatest achievement to date; Desolate. We feel like this album truly belongs in the collection of every tech-death enthusiast and shamelessly declare this to be the sickest death metal ever to come out of Iceland."

I’m really loving Ophidian I – Desolate and I’m sure it’ll be on a lot of tech-death fan's year-end lists when 2021 comes to a close. So be sure to check out the full album below. Pre-orders are available here and you can follow the band over on the Ophidian I Facebook Page.


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