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Back to the future with old school 90s Norsk BM - 78%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, August 13th, 2018

Ováte might be a new project but its two members have lengthy pedigrees playing for other Norwegian BM bands. Past experience pays off on Ováte's self-titled album: the guys know a catchy melody or riff when they hear one and they build up lively raw BM aggression around it. The songs on offer may not necessarily offer anything out of the ordinary on 1990s-styled melodic raw BM but they are solid songs full of energy and passion and plenty of hooks. The band's guitar sound is clean, steely and cutting, and the aggression and anger in the flowing music are strong and intense. While the drums probably could be a lot thicker and more muscular, the enthusiasm, energy and skill behind them powering the music are what really matter, and some of the aggression in the guitars and the vocals (courtesy of various guest vocalists) could be smothered by heavier and overdone percussion.

"Morgenstjerne / Morning Star" flies out the starting gates at a fast clip and keeps going strongly until just past the halfway mark where it becomes more sedate and settled, and adopts a more triumphal tone with choral singing and rousing riffs. The following track "Song til ein orm" is a more aggressive and hostile piece with snarling vocals but the catchy pop tunes, trilling tremolo riffs and the moods they induce will make this song a favourite with listeners. Overall, tracks 1 to 4 are brisk and busy with loads of shrill solo lead guitar shredding over steady grinding chainsaw rhythm guitars and solid drumwork. The vocals aren't always very clear on a couple of songs but if listeners treat them as part of the music rather than separately, this aspect of Ovate's style may not be too much of an annoyance.

"Inst I Tanken" is the longest track and the closest Ováte come to creating an epic song with ice-frost vocals and an instrumental passage of raw steel-edged noise guitar over an ambience of rainstorm and roaring demon voice. Ranging from fast and frenzied to medium-slow and focusing on creating intense atmosphere that sometimes borders on demonic and hellish, this song leaves a deep impression of strong malevolent forces being channelled through trilling layers of noisy guitars and sighing choirs.

With this debut, Ováte make a definite statement of being a tough, no-nonsense raw BM band hearkening back to the glory days of 1990s melodic Norwegian BM with a fresh sound and ambient elements. The band could benefit from a more distinctive and individual sound, and maybe stronger percussion, and a more adventurous approach diving into aspects of folk or other native Norwegian styles might help as well. Perhaps these things will come with time, when the band considers releasing more studio work and maybe a live recording.