OLDD WVRMS - Codex Tenebris (2019)
It's been a couple of years since OLDD WVRMS' last release, the EP-compiling Ritae, and in the time since that reorienting, they've worked up about an hour's worth of new material. Said hour is split into five tracks on Codex Tenebris, opening with “Ténèbres”, a mournful but hard-edged cruiser of a tune which neatly establishes the vibes of the album. Brooding bass, flexible drumming, and gnashing guitar are twisted through tempos ranging from moderate to swampy slow, and the riffs shimmer despite the grimy tonality that surrounds them. “A l'or, aux ombres et aux abîmes” follows, bringing a stiffer attitude and heavier crushing, but also a spookier atmosphere in the reverb-drenched melodies. The powerful riffs get a good workout here, bringing more of both tension and emotive regret, and making a nicely low-key nest for itself before “Misère & Corde” comes slamming in.
The midway track pushes harder into standard metal territory than the preceding tracks, but handles that shift with excellent poise, balancing the near-shredding portions with retreats into echoing doom-lit corridors of honed menace. With the next track, “La vallée des tombes”, there's a shift back into the slower morbidity, with a funeral doom-ish sort of tone study and permeating sadness, though it does raise a little prog flavor with a mutating rhythm passage, and kicks into hard gear towards the end.
Lastly, “Fléau est son âme” drifts even further into the murky melancholy, taking a couple of minutes to quietly meander before emerging into a solid melody. From there, it's a ~10-minute ride through rising pressures and unsettling atmosphere, with the band's handling of both serving to impress. There's not a weak song in the bunch, and the variety offers something for different listeners with different tastes. Pretty damn impressive, and well worth snagging once it drops on Cursed Monk Records come February 15th.
For Fans Of; Hesperian Death Horse, Jupiterian, Lifeless Gaze, Sunwolf, Trees