Ophis – The Dismal Circle (Review)

OphisOphis are a German doom band and this is their fourth album.

I fell strongly for the sheer heaviness and prolonged darkness of Abhorrence in Opulence. This was an hour’s worth of supremely heavy and miserable music, and The Dismal Circle is little different in this regard.

The songs here are mostly heavy and slow, with the band’s funeral death/doom approach continuing to impress. Monolithic guitars and mournful melodies slowly unfold as the music seems to get larger and more imposing the longer the songs stretch out. The tracks on The Dismal Circle are shorter on average than those of Abhorrence in Opulence, however, speaking of a more concise delivery and honed songwriting in some regards.

As with their previous work, occasionally the death metal influences get the better of the band, and they feel compelled to unleash sections that are faster and more brutal than the more doom-flavoured parts of the music. This is certainly no bad thing, adding a degree of diversity to the release, as well as extra bite and nastiness.

There’s other snippets of diversity on this album too; a greater display of light and shade than previously seen. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the band increasingly operate in varying shades of darkness? Either way, The Dismal Circle makes use of multiple tools to create different moods and atmospheres, sometimes stepping outside of the death/doom style into more introspective and almost post-metal territories. These forays don’t typically last that long before the thundering guitars return to crush everything, but they’re effective and well-received nonetheless.

The vocals continue to mainly be comprised of deep, ugly deathgrowls. They’re certainly not without their character though. They’re my favoured style of vocal for this kind of music, especially as they’re backed up now and again by some acerbic screams.

Another quality and highly enjoyable release for Ophis. They continue to be one of the better bands playing this kind of dark, heavy music, and a criminally underappreciated one at that. Don’t let this pass you by – check it out today and get lost in the misery.

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