Ophidian Spell – Nux/Hêmera (Review)

Ophidian SpellOphidian Spell are a symphonic/melodic death metal band from France and this is their debut album.

Combining aspects of melodic, progressive and symphonic death metal into their delivery, Ophidian Spell offer up the listener a modern blend of these various influences. I can hear aspects of The Faceless, Devin Townsend, In Flames, Emperor/Ihsahn, Ne Obliviscaris, Delain and Septic Flesh in the mix, along with some others.

The album is very well-recorded and the production values appear to be quite high. With such a strong sound the band have no problem allowing the songs to breathe and inhabit the space given to them.

Keyboard/orchestral enhancements are common and not overpowering, despite performing an integral role in the music. I like that a lot of it is on the darker and more choral/operatic side, showing off their use of orchestration well as it enhances the core of the music.

There’s a decent amount of technicality on display here and it’s clear that the band know how to play their instruments. The songs are well-written and Ophidian Spell have obvious ambition and enthusiasm for their material. All the various facets of their sound fit together nicely, and both the songs and the album as a whole flow easily.

There’s a good balance kept between heaviness, melody, bombastic orchestration and progressive touches, with none of these aspects being overly dominant for any one period of time. As I say – this is well-written stuff and the songs have obviously been practised and polished to a high degree of scrutiny.

Like the music, the vocals are also really well-performed, with the singer’s voice having a nice serrated edge to it. He has a good high-pitched scream for this kind of music, and he suits the band’s material. His style reminds me Ihsahn’s in some ways, as his voice shares a similar quality. Occasional female and choral vocals also appear, equally professionally delivered.

This is quite more-ish music; the album is a decent length at 49 minutes, but I’m still left craving more.

I really, really enjoyed this. The songs on Nux/Hêmera hit the spot for me with ease, and I really like the fact that they combine the more melodic/symphonic side with a bit of real bite.

A highly recommended listen.

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