Album Review: Ara Ophidia, I/D Split EP

Ara Ophidia, ID [SINGAPORE]

Attempting to review this album seemed quite a monumental task, how does one do justice to an album so eclectic and diverse? It’s a little like scratching that itch on the back of your brain but you can’t because that would require drilling a hole in your skull. Nonetheless, this editor shall attempt to cast a few stones and watch the pond ripple.

Ophidia – The order of reptiles which includes the serpents. Perhaps encompassing the evil atmospherics of the band, and as stated on their description of themselves, “A.O initiated in early May 2009, my works are influenced by the occult and the writings of Nietzsche, De Sade and Crowley.”

The first track off the EP reflects this adequately. With what sounds like tolling of a great bell, “Ordained by Blood & Semen” was ominous from beginning to end. The intense atmosphere was minimalistic and yet highly effective in conveying a sense of tribal ordainment. The second track “A:O”, starts off with the buzz of flies flitting around your stereo. A series of static/human voices and rumblings topped off the lone guitar riff, and the result was a sense of enveloping evil. The third track, “Catatonic POV”, as the name suggests, seemed to reflect a state of catatonia, very psychedelic and mind-raping, with mad mumblings and screaming.

The second band, I/D, a local noise-rock collective influenced by prog rock, jazz fusion (and disco-dancing sounds), gave a different spin to the EP. At an epic length of almost 25 minutes, the experimental piece “Skin Homage” consisted of so many different elements that it made this editor’s head spin. Using reed noises punctuated with saxophone screams, it is a dense collection of sounds. At times foreboding, screaming for release at others, with innovative use of feedbacks and sounds this editor simply cannot identify, it managed to keep this editor riveted in anticipation of new soundscapes and new ideas, never coming across as repetitive or running out of steam. Probably a great test of endurance for both performers and listeners.

All in, this editor thoroughly enjoyed the different perspectives of music that these two bands brought. This EP is highly recommended to those to like dark and strange atmospheres, coupled with noise and hoots and toots (think Sunn O))) and their didgeridoos, or Norwegian Blackjazz ensemble Shining). If you do not know or like either of those bands, give this EP a spin anyway. You might enjoy the mindrape. Or the poem inside.

Thanks to Harold for the complimentary copy of the CD for reviewing.

Ara Ophidia on MySpace.
ID on MySpace.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | JJ

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