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Officium Triste : Giving Yourself Away

Dutch death/doom masters Officium Triste are back for another instalment, about three years after the release of the excellent Reason. And it has to be said, they manage to keep up their level on this album, confirming their status as one of the most long-standing and one of the best doom bands in the Netherlands.

The album starts with the slow "Your Eyes", which re-introduces Pim's clean vocals, absent from the previous album. With a better production they sound very pleasant, and the same goes for the rest of the track, from the melodic main parts to the death/doom banging bridge. "My Charcoal Heart" was a surprise for me; it may well be one of the most accessible and catchy things they've done so far. Nicely mid-tempo, great melodies, and a clear verse-chorus structure. A song like this could open up new audiences for the band, which might be a good thing. There's a delicate balance between mainstream and catchy, but these guys manage to walk the tightrope just fine. "Signals" takes things back into the realm of underground doom, proving my previous point. It's perhaps not the most interesting track on the album, but trudglingly slow and depressing. Up next, however, are two more standout tracks. "On the Crossroads of Souls" represents, for me, classic OT work: subtle development, great keyboard and guitar work, and an emotional, almost funeralish and slow finish. "Inside the Mind" stands out because of the classic development by guitars and keyboards starting from the mid-section. Excellent stuff. The final track pales somewhat in comparison, but it has that definite outro feel to it, like "A Flower in Decay" had on Reason.

Comparing this album to the previous one, it's difficult to make a judgment. In some areas, such as production, vocals, and definitely some of the catchy parts, Giving Yourself Away is a clear improvement. However, it lacks a bit of the raw emotion and despair that I found so appealing in Reason. It's a fair trade-off, though, and while the Rotterdoomers have yet to blow me away completely - like any other Dutch band, by the way - this is another solid album that should please lovers of melodic death/doom.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Your Eyes
2. My Charcoal Heart
3. Signals
4. On the Crossroad of Souls
5. Inside the Mind
6. Master of Your Own Demise

Label: Displeased Records

Duration : approx. 48 minutes.

Visit the Officium Triste bandpage.

Reviewed on 24-04-2008 by Oscar Strik
Hate Your Guts Records
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