Omitir (engl.: to omit) is a one-man black metal project from Porto, Portugal. This is my first encounter with them, although Gróvio, the man behind the project, has been making music for quite some time. Ode, the album at hand, is the band’s fourth full length, their first, Old Temple of Depression, was released in 2007.

What Ode offers are six tracks of atmospheric and melodic black metal with ambient and folk influences spanning roughly over forty minutes. Thematically the album circles around paganism, rural Portuguese tales and nature. The cover art, old-fashioned oil on canvas, also depicts a rural scene: a group of women dressed in traditional clothing is harvesting grapes.

Ode starts out with the sound of an accordion playing and bells ringing. The bells are of the kind worn around the necks of animals, for example goats. Slow, pounding percussion in the background adds an ill-omened element. If the album cover didn’t get you there, the bells will do the trick: you are transported to a rural setting and times gone by. After a short while the accordion is blended out and a tremolo-picked guitar sets in. The bells remain. The happy, rural carnival soundscape has suddenly turned ominous. A good, effective beginning. From here, Ceiva, the first track, expands into fast, melodic, baleful black metal, with throaty, raspy vocals.

In the course of the remaining five tracks the album continues to mix traditional instruments, like accordion and acoustic guitar, with old school black metal and natural sounds. Each of the album’s tracks has its own character, is in some ways a separate entity. Although I don’t understand a word of Portuguese, I sense that every track tells a different tale.

Cear is an instrumental piece where the acoustic guitar accompanies the sound of running water, a brook maybe. Flora, has epic overtones, with marching drums and a bit of pomp in the melody. Vera Busca features a speech, perhaps a political one, that continues after the music of the track has stopped. Âmago (engl. core) begins with the sound of fire burning accompanied by shamanic chanting, evoking a ritualistic atmosphere – and that’s also the tone on which the album ends.

Ode is an enjoyable listen, pleasing to the black-metal-loving ear, with double-kick drumming and tremolo-picked guitars a-plenty. Keyboards and accordion provide a melodic undercurrent, vocals range from throaty, mean and raspy to clean and spoken word. However, you will hear nothing new. Still, if you are a fan of Bathory and Burzum you will probably be pretty happy with Ode.

(7/10 Slavica)