Olhava – Reborn (Review)

Olhava - RebornOlhava are a Russian ambient/post-black metal band and this is their fifth album.

2021’s Frozen Bloom was an enjoyable blend of atmospheric post-blackened intensity and shimmering dark ambience. Have Olhava managed to recreate their dark magic once again?

Indeed they have.

Once again combining atmospheric post-black metal with dark ambience and blackgaze, this mammoth 79-minute album drowns the listener in Olhava’s rich world. The trance-like music is utterly compelling.

Reborn offers a darker exploration of the world that Frozen Bloom inhabited. Longer, deeper, and greater in emotive expression, Olhava’s latest album is immersive and engaging. Once you surrender yourself to it, it’s hard to break free. But then why would you want to? What meaning and solace can the real world offer you that these four tsunamis of emotion and depth cannot?

Reborn is darker and more despairing than its predecessor. From anguished introspection to attention-grabbing extroverted aggression, Reborn roams a range of emotions and feelings. Optimism wars with pessimism for domination, and it seems that the latter is gaining the upper hand, although it’s not happy about the fact. Hope and light, still an aspect of the music, are less represented, instead replaced with a growing sense of horror and hopelessness at the state of the world.

These four tracks are mood-driven first and foremost. Olhava are skilled at crafting deeply atmospheric pieces that cascade with emotion and carry a potent presence. Ethereal synth ambience complements the walls of feeling-drenched distortion, and taken both together are greater than the sum of their parts. Sometimes solo and sometimes coupled with the post-blackened textures, the synths are an integral part of what makes Olhava’s work so vital and absorbing.

Reborn is a darker incarnation of Frozen Bloom, refined and perfected to deliver a soundscape to escape into. The realm of Olhava is one you’ll rarely want to leave. The end of days might be here, but at least we have Reborn to act as the soundtrack to the death of civilisation.

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