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Oskryf : Oskryf

Do Oskryf really deserve a ‘Drone Doom’ tag?

Once in a while, it is difficult to avoid the question about what a particular genre / subgenre of music represents. Are certain genres, such as Funeral Doom or Drone Doom meant to be among the most extreme, destructive music one can ever come across, or do they after a while often turn into a magical journey through the depths of consciousness, dreams and feelings? The reason why this comes to the fore is that after a series of rather 'conventional' Doom Metal records, the latest offering from the Finnish label Firedoom, a sub-label of Firebox Records tends to (once again) push the boundaries of the label's identity. Of course, one might find records such as Torture Wheel's 'Crushed Under...' or 'Prelude to Monolith' by Until Death Overtakes Me, which are not afraid to 'experiment' with extreme slowdowns and to explore some deep guitar vibrations.

Oskryf's untitled debut album is, as indicated, a piece of experimental minimalism (at times the band's music almost frighteningly reduces everything that is happening to the repetition of a single chord by a single instrument) fitting into the genre bracket of ‘Drone Doom Metal’. Out of those three words, two at least are fairly contestable. First, without any intent of insulting Oskryf, the presence of ultra-heavy guitar drones and riffs... well, does by no means make one think of Manowar (and the fact of the ever increasing scarcity of 'Metal' tracks by that band since 'Kings of Metal' is a pure unintended coincidence that came to the reviewer only in the middle of the sentence...) - no swords, probably no leather or maybe not even long hair and no middle-aged drunken fans unwilling to accept there are other bands and ways of playing extreme music out there – and thus implies some potential difficulties of stating when it is 'too much Metal', 'too little Metal' or, most fittingly, some obscure hybrid of both.

The second word that is contestable comes around when one wonders whether Oskryf shouldn't perhaps be thought of as a Drone Black or Drone Dark Metal band. While the record definitely brings about some high standards when compared to other Drone Doom projects, the overall atmosphere might resemble a bit more a sound that one would get when sufficiently slowing down the Swiss Blackers Darkspace, rather than Earth's or Sunn's Drone Doom. Well, of course there is something oppressive and crushing that perhaps connects Oskryf with the latter artists, yet one can both find something in the way the chords progress and in the way that the synths / ambience take place that resembles the blackened cosmic storm of the formerly mentioned folks from Bern. Perhaps the difference could be that, with Oskryf, one might add to the description a proximity to a black hole that is sucking you in. No way out. One can only enjoy this, because the end will be much more terrible. And then, all of a sudden, one realizes that what's going on during this journey is by no means unpleasant, but instead that what's being sucked out is just all the negativity inhabiting the depths of the listener's soul and that this is a journey not just through the cosmos, but as well from the Freudian ego to the corners of the id. Or in different words, welcome to a trip through the microcosm of the less-thought-of elements of human consciousness, cleaning up the dirt sedimented in through the everyday experience of the pre-apocalyptic world.

Overall, one might say that Firedoom Records once again posed a challenge to the listener. If the word 'drone' does not scare you off, this piece might be well worth a shot. For fans of Fall of the Grey-Winged One.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. In Tystnaden, Kylan Och Ensamheten
2. Inuti Mig Ar Det Alltid Morkt
3. Nar Kroppen Lider, Blomstrar Sjalen
4. Allt Kott Ar Ho
5. Gladjen Over Att Vara Kvitt Sig Sjalv
6. Och Sen Blev Allting Svart

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes

Visit the Oskryf bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-02-09 by Lukas
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