Ok I mostly picked this up through intrigue. Intrigue caused by an ex-guitarist running their original Facebook page, not having talked to them for five years, directing people to the new page and mumbling about not having a clue what “psyche proggy black metal is anyway”.

Um. I guess it’s this. Album IV and a change of direction apparently.

Er….Ok. Where to start. ‘Nerthus’. First track. Yeah. Opens with a bustle of quiet drums and the low buzz of keyboards in an industrial/darkwave style. I check the album to make sure I’m not listening to something from Necromantia circa Scarlet Evil Witching Black and by that time it’s shifted into something closer to early Arcana via Era One Mortiis. I’m beginning to see why they have an ex-guitarist, though they have got a new one too. Clearly this is the singer/keyboardist’s vehicle.

It really is odd though. And that doesn’t mean bad. But it is like listening to some of the more peculiar branching of early 90s ‘post Norwegian black metal weirdshit’.

‘Baduhenna’ the follow up then sounds like Drawing Down The Moon period Beherit with backing by The Electric Hellfire Club. Still not much guitar. It’s weirdly hypnotic, ritualistic music. Rather good indeed. But then there’s the bit that goes suddenly all folky melody. Briefly.

Hmm. Ok. Different. Definitely. ‘Sandraugie’ has a Necromantia opening and then a Mortiis passage before a bit where my mind drifts and I’m tugged back by the early 90s keyboards.

Come on Gizmo, brain together. Breathe. Right. The above is pretty much how the album goes and I’ve listened to it over and over. There’s a curious lo-fi feel to it which just accentuates the early nineties experimental feel here. Necromantia, Arcana, Mortiis, Ahkenaton, early Limbonic Art, that kind of thing. At its best this is weird, atmospheric and hypnotic. At its worst is a bit disjointed as though either parts of the songs don’t quite marry up, or the album itself has no real flow and it is ‘just’ a collection of songs. For me this is a reminder of those wonderful days of anything goes exploration, dark dungeon music married to electro black metal. It’s never boring, mind, and really the worst thing is sometimes it feels a bit all over the place. A bit more focus maybe, a more cohesive feel to the album needed perhaps which is odd as it also kind of feels like a one man black metal project too. But it is not short of ideas though and it is eccentric as hell and that’s a good start for their phase two.

(6/10 Gizmo)

Old page: https://facebook.com/OphidianForest

New page: https://www.facebook.com/Ophidian-Forest-Official-800273360362330