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A Fine Offering to the Twin Gods - 85%

chaos_serpent, February 3rd, 2013

After a four year wait, Ofermod return with their second full length set of praises to the forces of the Sitra Ahra. Further developing the “orthodox religious death metal” sound, Thaumiel finds itself even further from the Mystérion sound than Tiamtü was, though overall it’s still distinctly and easily recognizable as an Ofermod release. The riffs are more aggressive and the song structures more complex/varied, often switching tempos or tones multiple times a song while avoiding sounding like a bizarre concatenation of random riffs. This is not to say the songs are predictable but that even the unexpected turns still feel appropriate to that song as a whole. Michayah hasn’t quite perfected his unique “orthodox” sound yet but it’s pretty damn good none-the-less. Everything is more ritualistic, giving the album an atmosphere of being a grand ceremony to the Dark Gods progressing as a concentration, culmination, and release of energy; the frequent use of chanting is a powerful addition as well. Michayah’s lyrics are also always welcome as they go far beyond the standard “blah blah, Satan, blah” style lyrics that plague so many so-called “Satanic” oriented bands; they feel even more personal on this album than previous efforts.

There are a few issues I take with this release though that prevent me from giving it a higher score. JK/Tehom’s vocals are a bit all over the place and can take some getting used to. When I first listened to the album, I thought he was drunk because of the strange tonal shifts. After spending time with the album, the initial feeling of bizarreness has gone but some of his deliveries still do come across as strange. On a positive note, his vocals fit the more aggressive sound of the album quite well.

The second major issue I have is with two songs, specifically Undead Moon and the re-recording of Chained to Redemption. While a great concept, Undead Moon falls a bit short of its potential taking it from what could have been a great song to something that’s just ok. Kvarforth’s vocals seem a bit soft in the first half, picking up strength in the second half. Also, you really pronounced Lucifer as Luchifer, Niklas...seriously? What the fuck. Nitpicking aside, the song strays into My Dying Bride territory for a bit towards the end, detracting from its originality. As previously stated, it’s not a bad song but it could have been much better. As for Chained to Redemption, it wasn’t “ruined”, it just feels out of place here. On a album that is much more death metal oriented, putting what is clearly a black metal song in the mix just makes it seem like the weird, red-headed step-child song. Sticking the heavier, death metal-esque production/guitar tones on it doesn’t mask the fact that structurally and tonally, it’s still a black metal song that doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album.

With a bit tighter song writing and further development of the orthodox religious death metal sound, Ofermod have the potential to release something monumental. As it stands, Thaumiel is a solid release and promises great things for the future.