Oracle Of The Void
Further Steps To A Perfect World
posted on 4/2009 By:
Formed back in 1994, Australia’s Oracle of the Void have reformed with the expected line up shift from 14 years ago and upon their return, finally releasing a full length album, join Astriaal as Australia’s very finest black metal acts.
Of course, epic, occult, symphonic black metal isn’t exactly burgeoning in that neck of the woods so being one of Australia’s best symphonic black metal acts is akin to being the best Cricket player in Harlem, but I digress, it doesn’t change the fact that Further Steps to a Perfect World is a perfect symphonic black metal album.
And by symphonic I don’t mean the watered down, over produced, commercial fare played by Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir, but a darkly regal, sweeping and foreboding sense of menace and ritualistic majesty combined with off kilter, serpentine riffage that comes across as Hordanes Land era Emperor mixed with the likes of Marduk and even the chaotic, atonal vortexes of Deathspell Omega (just check out opening duo of “Absolute Love” and “Bone Devil”).
If that mix sounds intriguing, it is, as the riffs swirl and collide with off tempos and menacing harmonies with the expected shrill icy echo in the production and shrieks (and growls) of traditional black metal but the back bone of the band is the synths of Murmur. While expectedly sweeping and epic, they actually add a dark, psychotic layer of symphonic, Wagnerian orchestration to the already twisted structures that’s incredibly appealing. It helps that the riffs Murmur is backing are already perfect black metal riffs; the aforementioned opening duo, along with the likes of “White Claudia,” blistering but all too short “The Seeker” and “Red Spit” being prime examples.
The band also has the ability to add some well placed injections of sickly ambience or atmosphere such as the 6 ½ minute “The Anatomical Commiseration”, 9 minute album centerpiece “The Valve” and "302" and even some melodic restraint on the somber “On Wings, In Dreams.” The end result is one of the more complete personifications of symphonic black metal I’ve heard in quite some time.
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