Onirica is an interesting and wide-ranging album, spanning, as it it does, elements of melodic doom and death metal, (think bands such as Katatonia, Opeth, and Agalloch), as well as more modern progressive and atmospheric metal. The end result is a curious mix of old and new, wrapped up in a professional, polished package that allows the band to be displayed in their best light.
Coming across as an older Opeth combined with someone like Hamferð, and then given a more modern delivery than either, the songs on this album are compelling, well-written, and very enjoyable. Sometimes the problem with an album like this is that it can too heavily lean on the established style of other bands. Thankfully, however, Onirica may be reminiscent of others, but marches to its own beat.
Deep growls and screams are occasionally enriched with well-performed clean singing. All are confidently delivered and convincing, and the vocalist knows his craft well. He’s aided by the recording, which is rich and crunchy. From a musical perspective, this succeeds in allowing the melodic, olde-world feel of the death/doom influences to exist freely alongside the band’s more modern presentation, as if a gap of decades didn’t really separate them most of the time. Fjords care not for timescales, however, and Onirica skilfully combines eras and styles with ease. The final product is a death/doom-influenced progressive metal album that really hits the spot.
A highly recommended listen for any fan of melodic progressive/doom metal.