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Too much New Age blandness, not enough originality - 55%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 22nd, 2016

Onirism refers to a state of delirium caused or created by dreams or hallucinations, and the world of dreams, especially lucid dreams (dreams in which the dreamer is aware that s/he is dreaming), is the motivation for one-man symphonic BM project Onirism. "The Well of Stars" EP encapsulates this aim with its four-part self-titled work (with an additional track following after) and its attractive dream-like cover art.

I'm not all that impressed with Part 1 which sounds like generic New Age feel-good soothing trance and which conveys very little wonder and nothing of a dreamy immersive atmosphere that would gently bear listeners into an immense and serene inner universe that Onirism man Vrath strives for. I'll flit straight to Part 2 which by contrast is a furious scrabble of roaring BM guitar and blast-beat percussion laid over synthesiser wash. In that mixture are some interesting melodies and riffs (especially those played on bass) but they are nearly all drowned out by the most banal orchestral synthesiser drone-tone smother, saccharine flute tunes and dinky toy tone effects. A crabby vocal rasp is there as well, singing about entry into a vast alternate world, if the listener can concentrate hard enough and ignore the schmaltz swirling around.

We ricochet back to all-keyboard soundscapes on Part 3 and again most of the music is forgettable tosh; only the background low-end rumble keeps this listener tagging along, hoping to hear something that might go beyond trite New Age lounge space wormhole cheese. This tips us into Part 4 which at least features some surging and emotional rhythms, booming drum-work and (if you pay close attention) some very good bass lines. While this is a good track with some soaring guitar, there's still too much bland keyboard tone blanketing it and blurring its edges. "The Endless Ride of Heavens" plays like an extension of Part IV, only much faster to the point where the blast-beat pounding threatens to rise into the sky.

I guess I'm just not cut out to review symphonic black metal, especially symphonic BM of the sort that relies too much on a narrow and over-used range of analog synthesiser sounds and beats and which adds very little to the general corpus of atmospheric or symphonic BM soundscape immersion. There is so much music already aiming at total listener absorption in inner sound worlds that we can afford to be picky, and this recording has little to commend it. Bands that want attention need to think beyond relying on analogue synthesisers and strive for something more original, creative and individual.