A blood-curdling scream breaks the silence. It grows and becomes a spine-chilling howl. All the while a droning guitar resonates throughout the subconscious. It's not a never-ending nightmare, it's in fact, Portugal’s Voëmmr. O ovnh intot adr mordrb, the group's sophomore effort, is exactly what black metal should be. It’s raw, atmospheric, and completely abrasive to the senses. While some music is meant to expand the mind—this release travels to the regions where very few dare to go.
With the recent theatrical release of Lords of Chaos, many are learning about the Norwegian Black Circle for the very first time. Much has been said about the events that occurred in the early 90s. There’s certainly no need to retread them here. The time period has now been highly sensationalized and appropriated by popular culture. What was once known only to a few is now first-hand knowledge for many. The mystique of the subgenre as a whole has slowly faded over time. The point is, there is a gravitation towards art that embodies the mysterious and unknown. Voëmmr, emerging from a collective known as the Aldebaran Circle, are certainly no exception to this. The parties involved are unnamed, and their presence on social media is virtually nonexistent. Those who belong to Portugal’s’ growing black metal scene appear content with keeping the eyes of listeners veiled.
O ovnh intot adr mordrb possesses many of the attributes that fans of raw black metal look for. The stripped down production and dissonant guitar work are at the very forefront of this album. Accompanying every riff is an atmosphere that’s similar to someone descending into the depths of madness. The bone-chilling screams and mid-paced drumming intertwine and evoke an auditory abyss. On “Vin ad Mordrb” in particular, the slow intro paints a landscape of isolation and melancholy. As the drums slowly build momentum, an unmerciful howl pierces the air. While the reputation of Voëmmr might be enigmatic, the impact of the album is anything but. The experience is confrontational; the results speaking for themselves.
“Profvndr” is the album’s crowning achievement. Spanning over ten minutes in length, it’s completely unrelenting. The screams of agony rival that of Stallaggh and Silencer. Cutting the listener down in an overwhelming frenzy, there’s a macabre complexity to its structure. At its very core lies an element of deconstruction. Breaking down any semblance of rational thought, the song seems to unravel at certain moments. This simulates the feeling of someone detaching from any semblance of reality.
The album concludes with “Carpatr Tzaeb.” Its final moments are fitting for the end of the listening endeavor. As feedback reverberates in the final moments, it is a moment to process what the album in its entirety. Ovnh intot adr mordrb isn’t an album to be listened to just once. Nor is it anything that could be forgotten. Voëmmr delivers something visceral that creeps into the collective consciousness. It’s safe to assume that whatever comes next will only go further down the rabbit hole.