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Omit : Repose

Omit's debut album is the most essential Doom release from Norway in many years.

I remember writing in a review earlier this year that I did not expect to hear anything else of such high quality in 2011. How wrong I was, for I could not anticipate how many excellent releases were in the pipeline this year. Here’s another reason for Doom fans to rejoice: the new Oslo-based band Omit have now released what is probably the best Doom Metal album coming from Norway since Funeral released their classic Tragedies back in 1995! Admittedly, Norway has never been the most prominent place when it comes to Doom, but this fact does not diminish the importance of Repose to the slightest extent.

Stylistically, Omit are very strongly rooted in the small, but distinguished Doom tradition of their country, so the old material of the aforementioned Funeral is also a good first point of reference. This should not be much of a surprise, since Kjetil Ottersen used to play in both Funeral and Fallen and singer Cecilie Langlie (known from the fantastic Skumring who are clearly influenced by Funeral, as well) was about to participate in a new Fallen-album before the project went into hiatus. The 3rd and the Mortal are another important Norwegian band which deserves mentioning, but not so much because of their experimentalism, but because they started the whole movement of sophisticated Doom with female vocals. These names should now give you a first idea of what to expect here: long, ultra-slow and ultra-depressive songs with lots of atmosphere and melody, fronted by beautiful, but cheerless female singing.

This is not the whole story, however, for Repose is anything but a mere collection of quotes from these bands. Rather, it combines some of their best elements with Omit’s own ideas and lifts the Norwegian sound to a new level. While the atmosphere created is closest to the despondent epics on Tragedies, the riffing is more aggressive and powerful and thus closer to Fallen, revealing that Kjetil Ottersen played an important part in the creation of both A Tragedy’s Bitter End and Repose. Luckily, all the flaws of Anders Eek’s project are avoided here and only the distillate of its best ideas is added to the mixture. Another connection to the two bands I have just mentioned comes in the form of a poem by the late Einar Fredriksen which had already been used for the Song “Facing Failure” on Funeral’s In Fields of Pestilent Grief album.

The most striking plus which sets Omit apart is the consistent use of classical arrangements featuring both strings and flutes. In combination with Langlie’s hints at classical singing techniques, this element turns the album into a rarity which could be labelled Symphonic Doom. This term should not scare anyone away, however, for the music we are dealing with here is still uncompromising Doom through and through, and thus far from the decidedly stale sound which is generally referred to as Symphonic Metal. There is not a single fast passage on the whole double album; instead, the pace is closest to Funeral Doom most of the time, and the utter desperation permeating the music creates an even stronger bond with this particular subgenre.

The Norwegians maintain a remarkable balance on their debut: while most of the melodies are catchy and captivating, the compositions remain very complex and interesting. This ensures a maximum of accessibility while keeping the wear-out effect low. As surely as there will always be an enjoyable chorus to return to, there will also be fragile interludes with acoustic guitar, piano or strings, changes between melodic guitar lines and crushing power chords as well as suffocating Funeral Doom minimalism followed by epic, almost baroque opulence. All this is arranged in such a clever way that the songs seem to flow naturally and will always gently carry the listener through the entire playing time. The only song which is noticeably weaker and less captivating than the others is “Dissolve”, and it is therefore the album’s major flaw. But it is still considerably better than most of the stuff out there, and even if one feels inclined to skip it, you still have 70 minutes of almost flawless excellence.

It is unlikely that any fan of intense, melodic Doom Metal will be able to resist the magic of this fantastic release. Even if you are not familiar with the Norwegian scene yet but enjoy other sophisticated Extreme Doom acts such as Mournful Congregation, you will find there is a lot to discover on Repose, and you might also take it as a point of departure for a glimpse into the past. Omit are one of the most promising new acts out there, and their debut is absolutely essential.

Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
CD 1
1. Scars
2. Fatigue
3. Dissolve

CD 2
1. Constriction
2. Insolence

Duration : Approx. 85 minutes

Visit the Omit bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-09-20 by Dominik Sonders
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