Ovtrenoir might be “post” metal but their debut release Eroded is as heavy as a constipated elephant turd wrapped in chainmail. I’ve never quite worked out what all this ‘post’ nonsense is about anyway and it always sounds a bit twatty even when I (frequently) use it myself. Either way, Ovtrenoir have issued a steamroller of an EP here – flattening posts and any other obstacles in its path. It’s a huge slab of doom-laden, sludgy angst with some vaguely blackened, post-metal (ahem) edges. I must admit it took me a while to get into this but after a few listens it’s not just making an impact but a huge crater.
Ovtrenoir’s Eroded (strangely I’ve also seen it called Consume in various places) sounds like a combination of Neurosis, Harakiri For The Sky and Bongzilla. Or else try to imagine a screaming, extremely pissed off and distorted Sleep. Tracks like Erased.Sunken erupt like a force of nature – bass heavy, direct and often very simple riffs driving through the middle that are then drilled home with ferocious intensity of sound. Imagine all those videos you’ve ever seen with bands being forced backwards by the sonic weight of their own music when the music would actually struggle to blow down the first little piggy’s house of straw. Well this one could actually be fairly used to soundtrack those videos – blowing away the surrounding recording studio besides. The vocals alone (by William Lacalmontie, primarily a photographer – on the strength of this, I suggest he gives up the day job) are more than worth a mention, used as they are to drive the wedge of the sound home.
The band is a bit of a hotchpotch, at least on paper: the drummer and the bassist are also with a French five-piece hardcore band, while main man and guitarist DehnSora is better known for his dark ambient work with projects like Sembler Deah and Treha Sektor and an impressive back catalogue of artwork (Blut Aus Nord, Code, Ephel Duath and Archgoat among others). Although he has done some live stuff with Glaciation, who released the excellent Sur Les Falaises De Marbre a year ago, and which I’ve only just managed to come across. (Incidentally, Lacalmontie also did the artwork for Glaciation’s first EP).
So it’s a bit of a surprise that this sounds so complete and direct. Arguably it’s a bit too direct at times – in fact it took me a few listens to get past that and it could be argued, at least if you’re really looking for faults, there is some style over substance on that basis. But this really is a blast of emotive sound and I’m certainly prepared to enjoy it for what it is now I’ve got my thick little skull around it. It will be interesting to see how they disassemble some of when or if they ever get round to producing a full length. Let’s hope they do. Because this is definitely one of those debuts that seem to release something magical from its disparate components and worth checking out whether you’re into all things “post” – or just like to hear some pummelling, screaming, heavy metal.
(8/10 Reverend Darkstanley)