Ophis - Withered Shades
1 June 2010

01. The Halls Of Sorrow
02. Suffering Is A Virtue
03. Earth Expired
04. Necrotic Reflection
05. Halo Of Worms

There are some bands that inhale doom and exhale doooom, automatically separating themselves from the womb of mediocre or good/very good releases. Ophis has to be one of them, a Deutsch doom/death metal act that gave birth to the most representative work of the genre for 2010 so far, Withered Shades.

I really don't know from where to start and where to end, this album is an earthquake and the seismic waves sweep the place, at first you sense the threat approaching and then everything collapses. Yes, this album is heavy, heavy to the bone, the distortion expands all over the place and the great riffs succeed one another so naturally that you can't escape this colossal wall of sound that reaches new heights every time you seem to approach the top. Despite its heavy air, you will find many wonderful moments that add an intense vibe of melody or even acoustic-driven passages that offer diversity to the sound so as not to sound monotonous, monolithic yes, monotonous no. Ophis like it slow, but they like it outbursting as well and never forget to shake the foundations of your house and pass over the remains like a steam-roller just to make sure they didn't leave a column standing. Phlipp's interpretation is conquering, deep grunts make the earth tremble in fear whereas his more shrieking lines that appear sporadically offer diversity and present another extreme face of Withered Shades. And we couldn't forget the rhythm section, the bass lines lend depth and vibration while the drumming will not stick to the basics, Nils Groth appears to be a charismatic drummer offering many creative passages through the whole duration of the album. Of course it will be slow-paced whenever needed but it won't forget to ruin your calmness with its powerful and upbeat air.

No, they don't require keyboards (except for the last minute of "Halo Of Worms"), after all, the atmosphere of the album relies on the basic instruments, we're talking about old-fashioned doom/death metal that asks for imposing rhythm section, powerful guitars that never forget to ease your burden with melody and a great throat. Ophis passed the test and the fact that inspiration reigns supreme amongst its compositions won't let them rely on a basic idea, on the contrary, you will find notice many great changes within a single song that will blow your mind. Take for example the post-7:30 era of "The Halls Of Sorrow" that lowers your defences with its fragile aura or the post-11:55 heart-rending passage that bursts into a beautiful solo, the post-3:50 ultra groovy passage from "Suffering Is A Virtue" with the awesome drum sound that steadily blasts the whole place, the opening of "Earth Expired" that crushes your brain to pulp, then slows down dangerously and leaves you numb so that later you'll be an easier target to be knocked down after the 9th minute.

Well, the only thing you have to do is get your hands on this album and let it do the job for you, all 64 minutes will entomb you to the core of the earth, if you like it heavy, heavy and heavy you won't be dissapointed, doom what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Band profile: Ophis
Album: Withered Shades


Written on 15.10.2010 by
"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."
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!J.O.O.E.! - 15.10.2010 at 15:12  
Will definitely check this one out. Think I read Marcel liked this a lot too. Nice work as usual!
DerRozzengarten - 15.10.2010 at 15:24  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 15.10.2010 at 15:12

Will definitely check this one out. Think I read Marcel liked this a lot too. Nice work as usual!

Yeah, marcel did state something like that as far as i recall Thanks mate!
Marcel Hubregtse - 15.10.2010 at 17:08  
Frigging great doom/death album with a prefect production. Not original music but so extremely well executed it's unbelievable.

Saw them live last Sunday where they totally tore the place apart.
Bad English - 15.10.2010 at 17:17  
Good band, good, I like it , I gonna try get this CD, because its awesome, shood be, necause prev stuff is good

Snake - Withered Shades
DerRozzengarten - 15.10.2010 at 17:19  
Yeah, actually ophis in hellenic language means snake
Marcel Hubregtse - 15.10.2010 at 17:22  
Who cares about what the name means in what language. k7 even gets a hard on from watching the Greek national football team play. he is totally obsessed by anything Greek hahahaha
DerRozzengarten - 15.10.2010 at 17:24  
Ag Fox - 15.10.2010 at 18:04  
What an opening line for a review ^^
need to check this out!
Bad English - 15.10.2010 at 18:38  
DerRoz - I know it what it means :p
Marcel - Nop Im not a fan of greek flower band Firewind :p
advent - 16.10.2010 at 03:48  
Written by Ag Fox on 15.10.2010 at 18:04

What an opening line for a review ^^
need to check this out!

Merchant of Doom - 16.10.2010 at 13:09  
Awesome album...
InnerSelf - 16.10.2010 at 14:29  
It is by far my favorite Extreme Doom metal release of the year
great review
Ander - 16.10.2010 at 18:06  
Definitely love your reviews. I've checked one song so far, and now I'm typing this between bits of skull and brain pulp.
Eidwlon - 17.10.2010 at 13:38  
Very nice release, thank you for this review! They are indeed very seperate from common doom metal bands, with their peculiar sound. Nonetheless I'd not have given this album a 9/10, because they may have a good sound, but the five songs on the album are not that different from each other. There's no variation, you might as well listen to the first song five times...
advent - 19.10.2010 at 04:39  
After listening to this album for a while, i liked a lot , but sometimes i have the feeling that i am listening to Evoken , and like what have been said above , there is no variety in the album .
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.10.2010 at 10:27  
Written by advent on 19.10.2010 at 04:39

After listening to this album for a while, i liked a lot , but sometimes i have the feeling that i am listening to Evoken , and like what have been said above , there is no variety in the album .

Evoken? ?
Then you should relisten both Ophis and Evoken back to back. Ophis has lots of uptempo drumming and even blastbeats at times, something you will never come across in Evoken. Evoken are almost funeral doom whereas Ophis is pure doom death. even bordering on death metal a lot of the times, a territory Evoken never enters.
InnerSelf - 19.10.2010 at 11:55  
I'd say they sound a lot like Mourning Beloveth at times but definitely not Evoken
Daniell - 21.10.2010 at 16:35  
Bloody excellent album from start to finish. It's great how they turn a simple, unoriginal concept into a well done piece of doom. The songs are very long, but they NEVER tend to drag, which is the case with many doom releases.
Derwood - 22.10.2010 at 07:58  
This has become one of my favourite albums so far this year, along with Dark Fortress's and Watain's. It churns and changes and ebbs and flows making a very well crafted whole that rewards repeated close listens with subtle nuances rising to the fore that went unnoticed before. A very complete and coherent album.
Daniell - 22.10.2010 at 09:44  
Yeah, for the last three days I've found it hard to play other albums
Deadsoulman - 22.10.2010 at 10:22  
It's indeed really impressive and much better than their EP and debut. Great increase in quality!
WlaDoom - 31.03.2014 at 00:14  
Amazing band!!:bow:

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