Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Osedax - Meridians


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 17 Jan 2020

Tracklist:

1. Offen
2. Beacon/Ox Eye
3. White Horse/Tempest
4. Ratlines

That bewildering black and white cover art with it's glistening stars may or may not form notions in your head as to what genre Virginia's The Osedax call home, but keep those notions to yourself for the time being. The trio started life in 2008 and "Meridians" is their third full-length, following 2010's "Delayed Response" (Dullest Records) and 2015's "Titans Lament" (Replenish Records). This new release is scheduled for the middle of January, so by writing this review now it'll give you plenty of time to make sure you get accustomed to their earth-shattering heaviness, if you're not already!

It always baffles me how trios can deliver music at such volumes but I guess “power” is the right word to use when addressing them. In the case of The Osedax, that power is hidden behind a wall of ambience and atmosphere on “Meridians” opener Offen. The lengthy build-up gives way to low and bass-heavy doom/sludge guitar-work, powerful yet mournful drumming and pained dual-vocals. It’s everything you’d expect from a doom/sludge release but the added melody within it’s depths welcomes you in like a siren’s song. It’s best listened to at higher volumes, as this is where it’s layers and textures really come to life. 

Post-metal is one of the main elements of their sound, especially in the instrumental department. Beacon/Ox Eye benefits from a lengthy first passage that’s calming and serene. It’s lowly guitar fades in and out before giving way to feedback that heralds something all the more menacing. There’s blasting and a sense of blackened mayhem flowing through their music at this point. The tempo of the percussion takes the lead here and it transforms both the song and the release as a whole. The ringing guitar tones that take you past it’s mid-point are both harmonious and ear-ringing, which goes to show the intensity at which the trio takes their art.

The problem I find sometimes with doom/sludge is that it makes me feel sleepy. Not because it’s bad (it certainly isn’t that!) but because of it’s slow tempos. Maybe I shouldn’t listen to it in the evening after a full day at work. That being said, what’s woven here definitely conjures up some otherworldly images in the mind. White Horse/Tempest very much follows where Beacon/Ox Eye left off in the ambient department. It’s more on the experimental end of the spectrum, though dissonance and harshness isn’t far away. It’s trance-inducing in nature at this point, even with the screams nesting over the top of the instrumentation.

Album closer Ratlines is the soothing ending that you’ll so desperately need after the depressing and dank noise that preceded it. It’s instrumental tones envelope you in positive vibes and remind you that the world isn’t always dark. “Meridians” is a great doom/sludge record that’s been put together by a trio of musicians who really care about their craft. When researching for this review, I couldn’t see any information about a physical release, but let’s hope that one does happen as that artwork deserves to adorn a cd or vinyl record sleeve. 

"Meridians" will be officially released on 17th January and is up for digital pre-order via Bandcamp here - https://theosedax.bandcamp.com/album/meridians.

You can listen to pre-release streams of Beacon/Ox Eye via The Sludgelord here - https://thesludgelord.blogspot.com/ and White Horse/Tempest via PureGrainAudio here -https://puregrainaudio.com/.

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