Monday, March 21, 2011

Oksennus - Vomit Ritual [DEMO] (2011)

Oksennus presents a rather unexpected twist on the atmospheric death metal that has been increasingly in fashion of late, in that they do not simply settle for the cavernous depth vocals and guitars, but seek to infuse the formula with a resonant, black metal atmosphere and sludge driven dissonance. Vomit Ritual (the name Oksennus itself meaning 'vomit' in the band's native language) is their first demo sampling, and incredibly rough around the edges, but there are certainly strengths which the young Finnish trio could carry forward as they sharpen their bludgeoning, malignant chaos into something more cutting and forceful.

The mix here is incredibly raw, with fuzzed out guitars, horrendous puking vocals and tinny beats colliding in its bile soaked excess. There are occasional wailing vocals which are affixed to the more hoarse death metal style, and together they create an eerie effect not unlike the low fidelity, depressive black metal tone pioneered by Burzum. The riffs are usually thick streams of discord with steady bass lines following beneath, with ingredients of Portal, Demilich, Autopsy and perhaps some of the bedroom black of Leviathan or Xasthur, but they will occasionally break down into a truly sluggish crawl (the bridge of "Wind of Suffocation") which is more akin to sludge and doom. Unsurprisingly, the band refers to this mix as 'vomit' but I'd have to give them a little more credit than that. I enjoyed how the leads cut straight through the ooze, and when the band is burgeoning head on in their namesake "Vomit Ritual", they are convincing enough.

Alas, the plotting of the four tracks here rarely feels more than a bunch of relatively disparate riffs strung along and dowsed in disgust, and this is the shortest straw in their arsenal. I never felt like the guitars were setting one another up, they seem to rub up against each other like strangers in a crowd. The vocals, while intended to be grisly, could also use some percussion in their delivery. As they stand, they trend towards monotonous, more like a drugged, sedate hurling of the stomach contents than a total projectile yuck fest. Vomit Ritual is only a demo, and the band is sharing it for free to gauge reactions and spread the word, but there is still some distance to cover in composition, even for such a raunchy premise. That said, you don't hear something quite like this every day, and if the Finns can pull this together, they might find a niche for themselves, alongside yet distinct from Swallowed, Lie in Ruins, Slugathor and other death upstarts from that territory.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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