Ovid's Withering made a fairly large splash in the metal community early on in 2012 with their Cloud Gatherer EP, and then seemingly vanished into a void of endless writing and production-related hell. While emergence from the aforementioned seemed to grow bleaker day by day, growing hordes of fans waited patiently at their proverbial gates for the good word. "Orchestral metal needs a savior," they cried as some dropped dead of starvation, while others' muscles began to atrophy from refusal to move.
It was a pretty bad time, let me tell you.
Fast forward to November of 2013, when lo and behold! Scryers of the Ibis was delivered unto the masses. Jaws dropped, pants were shat, and collectively people's heads burst like Fred Gallagher's watermelons. Unfortunately they're all dead now, but I made damn sure I survived the bloody horror if only to let you know this one thing- Scryers of the Ibis is flat out one of the best, most well-written, well-played, well-produced, killer records of 2013 that should not be ignored by anyone.
In all confidence I can say that musically, Scryers of the Ibis is absolutely flawless. The record strikes the perfect balance between orchestral elements, various usages of electronics, and a metal band that can play their ass off. "Balance" is exactly the word to describe the record's different elements, as one never seems to override the other. In songs like "Exile," the focus is on the groove laid down by the band itself, while other songs like 'Earthshaker, Pt. 2" the focus shifts a little more into the orchestral realm. Even in the breakdown toward the end of "Panikon Deima," the band has managed to write around a solo keyboard and make it the main attraction atop all the other musical going-ons. The hallmark of great writing, to me at least, are separate elements of a song that are enjoyable by themselves, but in the grand scope display a much larger image. Ovid's Withering has achieved that hallmark and then some.
Scryers of the Ibis lyrically is something else. The record focuses on telling the separate stories of gods, man, adventures, wonders, and downright horror and betrayal, which keeps my attention right along with the music. Between the two elements of content and arrangement, the stories are told, the moods are conveyed as they need to be conveyed, and hand in hand they work so well it's almost unreal. One song that comes to mind is "Acheron," which initially kicks off as a maelstrom of voices and guitars, devolves into piano and drums with looming guitars overhead and a rumbling bass below, and then absolutely explodes into massive percussive chaos that blinds the listener with images of fiery skies and total annihilation. As the song progresses, things get slower… more doom-laden and menacing. The song turns the skies black and summons fire from the ground. There simple hasn't been an album this that has evoked such images between lyrical content and musical arrangements better than this in 2013. Period.
Scryers of the Ibis stands as a testament to creativity and the willingness to go above and beyond what your contemporaries are doing. Ovid's Withering has truly released a debut that will be incredibly hard to top, not only by themselves but by any band out there that can even hope to write something half as good. Comparably, there aren't any other band's doing what Ovid's Withering has done with Scryers of the Ibis, and I mean that in terms of writing, musicality, and creativity. Scryers of the Ibis is hands down one of the best records I have heard in a long time and one of the few to have me grinning from ear to ear throughout my entire first listen. This is a masterpiece.