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Dirge Ominous - 66%

DemonFeces, August 31st, 2017

This latest entry in the ever-increasing list of French extreme metal is the recently formed group Ominous Shrine. They are from the area known as Lyon which is about an hour and forty-five minute drive from Geneva, Switzerland. Assembled with fellow countrymen and ex -members of the bands Temple of Worms and Dysylumn, the instrument parts are handled by Dimhoult, Tom, Xahaal, & Seb. Bass, drums, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and vocals, respectively. Their chosen art work for this, their debut, is well done. A pen & ink work that, with excellent composition and light color, makes for an elegant cover. It reminds me of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor cover. There is some symbolism but nothing that we've come to expect from black metal.

Of course, that may be due to their categorization as blackened death metal. When I think of bands that fall into that category I think Coffin Lust, Grave Miasma, Lantern...etc. These guys really aren't in the same ballpark. There are moments of tremolo picking peppered throughout and some swift moments that introduce harmonies and swirling melodies. Otherwise, the bulk of the guitars are huge cavernous reverberating dirges that ring out with single note leads cutting through the muck. The rhythm guitar is low, about even with bass levels. When things do pick up it's mostly the drums that do the heavy lifting. Even then there's not much crashing and banging. When the short bursts of lead work pop in they are accompanied with the main guttural vocals. Quality vocals...are never a concern in my listening habits but, of the myriad of styles I've heard, these vocals are vastly underwhelming.

The Intro track is a whopping three minutes of dark ambiance that ends with distant tribal drums.This leads to V.I.T.R.I.O.L. which is a promising track but, it never quite grabs me by the throat. Over the course of the album's length, it becomes increasingly apparent that this is one of those recordings best experienced as a whole. This is not an album from which you single out special cuts. That being said the songs do start to run together just past midway through and there is not much excitement after that.

The production is very good allowing the effects-laden leads to be heard clearly. In my opinion, the most intriguing thing going on here is the use of haunting eerie vocalizations that are almost a steady undercurrent during the whole performance. As the distortion grates over your flesh and rings out, you can hear it meshing with the bass and the shadows behind the infernal columns which you march past as you head to the fiery pits of Hell...

Thematically it will create a good atmosphere. But in the end it's not for me.

A rare cult record in an era of mediocrity - 84%

felix headbanger, August 11th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

In today's extreme music scene only a few bands will impress you with their own forged materials, given the fact that most bands coming out in this era are taking the path of simply copying other bands when crafting an album and put out the product without even putting their own unique touch on it. France's blackened death metal act Ominous Shrine is an exemption.

At first glance of their album cover art on their first full-length 'Ο δρόμος της αποθεώσεως', one might say that these guys are just another copycat of the previous blackened death metal band's who played ahead of them. But that's not all true. Now there might be moments in this record where the band has that usual element and style of their predecessors, but don't be deceive in believing that they won't offer anything new.

Ο δρόμος της αποθεώσεως --the translation is related to something like "The path of the Apotheosis''-- is Ominous Shrine's debut album released under the banner of Colombia's Goathorned Productions, and it is an album which promises the audiences that this French blackened death metal group is a force to be reckoned with in the future. The band plays a style which takes you to every realm of the extreme music genre. From Incantation, Teitanblood, Lvcifyre, to New Zealand's Witchrist which plays a very doomy style of black/death metal. It's like the band took all those styles of the band mentioned and made something out of it for their own.

All the instruments in here worked perfectly well together, as every single one of them played a major role in how the ambiance and atmosphere of every track in the album sounded very enthralling and spellbinding. The fortification of the immensely resonating and rumbling guitar works, the powerful anchoring bass tune, and the vivid battering drum work had been mixed impeccably to induce a truly eerie voyage when listening to this record. Also, the vocals are really sensational and it captures the true essence of the album that the band wants to deliver to the fans. Listening to the whole album took me to a journey towards a dimension beyond our own.

Entirely, 'Ο δρόμος της αποθεώσεως' is a very catchy and haunting album that is a certain collection keeper. If you are a fan of death metal, specifically blackened death metal with a very doom laden catch, then you really can’t miss this record out. At first I wasn't really that excited when my friend from Digital Music Force Promotion sent me a link to the band's materials, as I thought these guys were just like the usual blackened death metal acts of the modern era, but I was wrong. Ominous Shrine staggered me in many different ways with this debut offering. I just added them to my list of modern extreme metal group to keep my radar on, and I will sure keep my ears and eyes on them as I wait for a new release in the future from these somewhat interdimensional beings.