Officium Triste

Mors Viri

Written by: MST on 10/07/2013 15:18:31

The world of doom metal is incredibly diverse. Between the proto doom of Black Sabbath and the extreme funeral doom played by a Finnish band or two, there's a wide range of subgenres to discover. Here in Denmark we mostly get associated with the melodic death/doom genre courtesy of Saturnus. Officium Triste from The Netherlands dabble in the same kind of melancholic, melodic doom metal, and they've been around for as long as their Danish colleagues. Since their debut full-length from 1997, the Dutch doomsters have taken their time with every single release, and "Mors Viri", the band's fifth full-length, is their first in six years.

Right off the bat it's made absolutely clear that Officium Triste haven't changed their formula. Keyboards, soaring lead guitars and melancholic spoken word vocals courtesy of vocalist Pim Blankenstein make up the opening minutes of "Your Fall From Grace", the first track on this new album. Gradually opening up more and more, the song introduces the growled vocals, slightly faster tempos and a nice solo that works as a transition back into the section with spoken word vocals. I can't say I'm personally a fan of those spoken word vocals, however when Blankenstein ventures into proper clean vocal territory I dig his voice considerably more, like in the brilliant chorus of "To The Gallows". The album's real highlight as far as I'm concerned has to be "Burning All Boats And Bridges" though, a song with no clean or spoken vocals. The guitars in both the verses and choruses is proper goosebump material, and even though the constantly rhyming lyrics are impressively cheesy this is the track I keep coming back to.

It's important to emphasize those special tracks though, because overall I find "Mors Viri" to be a little hit-and-miss; not only track-wise, but also in terms of the ingredients that make up this concoction of sound that is an album of doom metal music. None of the songs are decisively bad, but quite a few contain sections of brilliant riffs and then lots of filler material, like "The Wounded And The Dying" which features an excellently executed passage of simple drums with soaring lead riffs on top that slowly build into an orgasmic solo, but the four minutes that lead up to those riffs are completely forgettable. My main gripe with the album however is Pim Blankenstein and his lyrics. Forget that the lyrics are cheesy as all hell, my problem is that there isn't a single sentence that doesn't rhyme with another. Most of the rhymes are incredibly forced, and as a result the lyrics are at times pretty damn bad.

Of course there are people who will disagree with me about the lyrics - good on them, because this record really isn't bad at all. Fans of melodic death/doom metal with an over the top melancholic atmosphere (and lyrics to go with it) should feel right at home with "Mors Viri", and for those who, like me, have a hard time getting through some of it there are definitely still several tracks on the record that are more than enjoyable. Though not quite reaching brilliance, Officium Triste show on their fifth opus that they still have it in them to write great doom metal tracks after almost 20 years of existence.

7

Download: Burning All Boats And Bridges; Your Heaven, My Underworld; To The Gallows
For The Fans Of: Saturnus, My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun
Listen: Soundcloud

Release date: 18.03.2013
Hammerheart Records

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