In a world which seems to have an appetite for an apocalyptic future, self-serving and self-gratifying reactions more prevalent than consideration for generations to come as it journeys to that destination, Somnium Nocte Mendaciis provides a reflection/vision of our destinies. The new album from French post black experimental metal project OPHE it is a sonic gateway into a realm of aural dissonance and emotional malignancy within a cancerous tempest; a turbulence of fierce sound and emotive scars which sears the senses and psyche in echo of that seemingly inevitable end.
OPHE is the solo project of Bargnatt XIX (Christophe Denhez), the guitarist/vocalist with experimental metal/post rock outfit Område as well as Nerv, Mur, and In The Guise Of Men. His one man project creates a proposition which embraces the inspirations of bands such as Dødheimsgard, Blut Aus Nord, and Aevangelist among others but distinctly explores and presents its own agenda of experimental industrial/post black metal incitement across unsettling and disturbing soundscapes of noise and imagination. Just as debut album Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude, its successor proved a compelling and often mesmeric proposition, Somnium Nocte Mendaciis an experience we almost feared and found little physical or emotional comfort in yet it haunted attention and in its toxic way fuelled cathartic captivation.
As that first release, Somnium Nocte Mendaciis challenges the act of enjoyment but inspired just that with its even harsher and more emotionally ruinous exploits but again an encounter which equally provides moments of sheer melodic seduction within the creative ravening. The brief introduction to the turmoil, Tarde, sets the cast of darkness to come if not truly its destructive intensity. It is a raw crystalline lure to the immediately disturbing and soon mordantly claustrophobic Odalisk Incursio Sub Methaqualone, a twelve minute piece of sonic corrosion and atmospheric devouring with vocal pestilence to match. Even so, there is a melodic beauty which springs from within that creative and emotive lime though ultimately with a predacious drone of despair similarly arising, the track is tortuous yet enthralling.
With matching consumptive trespass, the following Squirting Cadaveribus makes for a slightly more tolerate proposal but with its nagging drone, sonic wiring and vocal tumour only entangles the darkest thoughts and emotions in its scorched incitement of ears and imagination while Partum Chimerae bears its industrial seeding with feral instinct and apocalyptic sufferance. There is a portentous resonance to its electronic hum and imposing shadows, a surrounding which stains the calm of the conversational sample sparking the track.
Favourite track was seized by Decem Vicibus II, a song with repetitive tribal rhythms within a radiance of pastoral beauty; that in itself shamanic like as vocals calmly reflect and intimate. Hypnotic and seductively haunting yet bearing its own dark insinuations in its sanctuary, the track simply ignited our addiction, all the while that blackness escalating until a voracious climax from which Noctis Ames unleashed its sonic corruption and disease.
That in turn seems to seed the restlessly and increasingly destructively ravenous Flores Vere A Peccatis, a final corruption of sound and implication which proved as uncomfortable and unsettling as it did fascinating with again moments of real beauty and captivation emerging from within the disorientating and ultimately cataclysmic consumption.
There is no denying that Somnium Nocte Mendaciis is a challenge and one not all will endure but a test and creative adventure which rewards with one senses searing, thought bending doomsday evoking experience which in turn presented simply raw pleasure.
Somnium Nocte Mendaciis is out now via My Kingdom Music; available @ https://ophe.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 02/06/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review
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