Ophidian I - Solvet Saeclum

From the cold bitter landscapes of Iceland come this infernally technical band from Iceland. Ophidian I are the newest signing of russian based label, Soul Flesh Collector Records and its to be said that the label are maintaining their good pedigree of technical death metal bands. These guys sit alongside titans such as Sickening Horror and Scrambled Defuncts so those of you familiar with these bands will kind of know what to expect.

The album opens with the very eastern tinged bass line that automatically installs thoughts of Atheist so I reckon were in the right ball park here. Its worth mentioning that an Ophidian is a serpent like creature in Eastern folklore so what were hearing in the eastern scales of the music really helps to capture the vibe. That saying, haven't we heard the Eastern scale thing alot with the likes of Nile, perhaps latter day Behemoth and most definitely Necrophagist. With this, its really hard to make the sound original whilst be executed with the most utmost precision in musicality. The production here is absolutely pristine but all instrumentation maintains a certain warmth without becoming sterile which is really hard these days as alot of death metal bands prefer this type of sound. I will mention that whilst Nile vary in the Eastern/Phrygian scales these guys seem to keep to a particular few which makes things sound alittle repetitive at times. 

But this is a minor gripe. "'Mark Of An Obsidian' begins the journey on this CD with a lot of style and finesse. The vocals are very powerful reminding me so much of the bands that I've mentioned earlier. One would be forgiven for thinking it was one of the bands I mentioned. The guitar sound is heavy but very clear to showcase the intricities of the playing. I must say I really love the fact that the bass can be heard complimenting everything thats going on. And the cool to match. There are some cool touches within the album, like when the music fades back and comes back in with sheer power. Its a real nice touch that really hammers home the fact of just how heavy this is. If its pure brutality you seek, check out track 2 'Shedyet' which reminds me of total Hate Eternal worship in all senses of the meaning. The vocal delivery, the guitar tone and the blasting drums.

The title track is a massive salvo of death metal idolising all things technical about death metal but what I do admire about these guys is that they constantly surprise the listener with quick time changes and just generally assulting the senses. I will say those of you who like the more rawer, filthy aspects of death metal may not like this as its quite a "muso" album as when these guys play solos they really go to town of them. They're harmonized and played with great technique and skill but I will say there's a tad too many solos for my liking but the lead guitar tone is silky smooth. Things slow down a little bit near the middle of the album in the form of 'Tectonic Collapse'. The song shows that these guys can groove abit and not play a 1000 miles an hour but again things are caked in solos. But its quite cool nonetheless. 'Nadir' is the big epic tune on this album, which kind of reminds me of the 'Unas, Slayer Of The Gods' track of the album. There's some crazy playing on these track and definitely a highlight for me. Its a goddamn heavy track. It seems things slow down, just a little bit for album closer 'The Discontinuity Of A Fundamental Element' but it definitely is a song for the band to showcase themselves one last time. Its quite a groovy track which is sure to get the headbanging going. 

In conclusion, I don't think these guys are going to rewrite the books in technical death metal as this style is quite oversaturated, but they are damn good at it. All of it is delivered to us with such style and finesse that its hard not to admire it and with killer artwork such as it is, its bound to turn a few heads.


1. Mark Of An Obsidian
2. Shedyet
3. Solvet Saeclum
4. Zone Of Alienation
5. Tectonic Collapse
6. Ellipse
7. Nadir
8. Ethereal Abyss
9. The Discontinuity Of A Fundamental Element

Reviewer: Connor
Nov 19, 2012
Next review: Prototype - Catalyst

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