Non Opus Dei
posted on 1/2007 By:
I’ve been listening to black metal a long, long time, folks. And while this fact alone certainly doesn’t qualify me as an expert in the genre, it does mean it’s becoming exceedingly more difficult for bands to bowl me over with extremity. Such is the case with Non Opus Dei’s latest release, The Quintessence. While I certainly found myself enjoying this record as a fan of black metal music, it fell short of truly marring me aurally or mentally – something I actually look forward to with impish glee when new black metal happens across my desk. Of course we all have different thresholds for extremity, so allow me to expound…
What The Quintessence does right, is delivering finger-tapping, mid-to-fast-paced black metal with clean production, solid musicianship (especially the drumming), and nastily acerbic vocals reminiscent of Maniac era Mayhem. First cut, “21 XII 2004”, incorporates the most melodic guitar lickin’ found on the record, giving the tune a nice epic feel, and “Oczy Tej Kobiety” features some interesting, ethereal Native American flute at its core to offset Klimorh’s stone-scraping vocals. Non Opus Dei also flourishes an obvious reverence for Voivod, as a number of the tunes displayed feature well executed tributes to the band’s familiar, off-kilter riffing, especially “The Wordless Galactic Ceremony”. However, N.O.D. take the discordant, off-kilter guitar work too far on a couple tunes as well. “Neither By Time Nor Space” splays a jarring, repeating guitar lick that’s so distracting, it actually ruins an otherwise worthy song, and the warmly mellow opening of “A Beauty Made of Steel” eventually suffers a similar affront. There’s some relatively stodgy song-crafting plaguing The Quintessence as well, making it a bit difficult to plow through in one sitting, especially by the time the 13th song eventually rolls out.
I believe the artists that are truly creating exemplary black metal today are those that figure out some way to blast through what’s pedestrian and force people to stand up and take note. While The Quintessence is certainly good enough to keep Non Opus Dei running with the pack; if they expect to scuttle to the forefront, they’ll have to spackle a couple holes and figure out a formula that really blows peoples’ heads off. If you’re a fan of black metal and you’ve got some extra scratch in your back pocket, you’ll likely be satisfied with this release, but I don’t think it’s gonna blow anyone away. Good, but certainly not essential.
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