Omophagia – Rebirth in Black (Review)

Omophagia - Rebirth in BlackOmophagia are a Swiss death metal band and this is their fourth album.

2016’s In the Name of Chaos was very enjoyable, but it was with 2019’s 646965 that Omophagia really made their mark. As such, Rebirth in Black is one I’ve been waiting for, so let’s get to it.

Omophagia have not simply repeated past successes here; the clue is in the album’s title. Although they have still merged the old-school and the new into a feast of death metal, this time the band have brought a few new ideas and influences along with them for the ride. Rebirth in Black presents us with a 48-minute slab of brutality that delivers the band’s very capable and satisfying death metal with both the cold familiarity of the blade and the warm embrace of a new dangerous lover.

48 minutes is a good chunk longer than the band’s last two albums, and the average song length has increased accordingly. The band spend the time filling this in part with ferocious technicality and brutal intensity. As I say, this isn’t a repeat of 646965 though; this new material is darker and harsher, and incorporates blackened elements in places. The latter infects some of the guitars, and also manifests as orchestral embellishments and infernal enhancements.

Omophagia’s songwriting chops remain undimmed, although these new songs offer less instant-appeal catchiness, and more mood-based depth for the listener to explore instead. Melodic accents and colourful enhancements are still used, although these are embedded into a the abrasive starless void where the rest of the music exists.

Although you can clearly hear the band that made 646965, they have expanded out from this. If you combine Omophagia’s past sound with the intensity of Origin and the grandeur of Dimmu Borgir and Nile, you’ll have a rough idea of what Rebirth in Black holds. At the intersection of the four an interesting sound exists, and Omophagia mine this rich seam of creativity for all it’s worth.

The singer’s talent for rhythmic vocal brutality is intact and well, and, like the music, his voice sounds darker and harsher this time around. There’s a real rough edge to his growls, and his screams have developed a fiercer bite.

Rebirth in Black is not what I was expecting from Omophagia, but I’m enjoying it greatly. It’s definitely more of a grower, so whether I prefer this or 646965 I’m still as yet uncertain. What I do know is that I’m going to have a brutally good time finding out over the next few months.

Very highly recommended.

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