Band: One Tail, One Head
Album: Worlds Open, Worlds Collide
Label: Ván Records
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: October 5th, 2018
Worlds Open, Worlds Collide, a theatrical and psychedelic black metal splurge of a release, is the first full length album by Nidrosian black metal outfit One Tail, One Head, but this does not mean that the band is in any way a stranger to devoted underground heads, as they have had a steady output of demos and EPs for 10 years already and are closely associated with the label Terratur Possessions out of Trondheim, Norway. For those of you who are not familiar with the Nidrosian black metal scene of recent years, they are a group of bands with ties to said label, who has been pushing the Norwegian scene forward with their Black Sorcerous Art, with many of the musicians being active in more than one of the bands. One Tail, One Head for example, sees members from bands like Mare, Black Majesty, Ritual Death and Celestial Bloodshed, which are all within the same circle of bands. Out of Oslo since 2010 comes Andreas Tylden from experimental drone doom outfit Altaar on bass and let me tell you, his bass playing adds a lot to this album! Stylistically, as a whole, the album finds itself sitting comfortably between sounding like pretty ballsy black n roll, and hugely atmospheric occult black metal. At times leaning so much on the atmosphere that it’s hard not to spill the “shoegaze black metal” beans, but they pull it off without being wanky, in lack of a better word! This may be partly due to the vocals being almost constantly over the top in terms of abrasiveness, and this is where i find the vocals to be a weak part of this album; the parts with the really hypnotic and emotive qualities are sometimes overshadowed by the vocals, as in the music would surely speak volumes by itself without the vocals being way in front of the mix being, well, much. But on the topic of emotive and hypnotic, the riffs are not really that forgiving either – this is black metal – albeit at times very psychedelic black metal.
Never drowning in atmosphere, this is a really tight knit gang when it comes to musicality. I mentioned the bassist – and i might as well say a few things about the production right about now – the bass sticks out with a lot of mid on this album, sounding harsh and in your face, and the bassist interprets the riffs in a really creative way. The combination of the creative playing and the clean, yet harsh bass sound really makes you consider his presence in the sound to a much greater degree than your average “bass guitar – add distortion – follow base tone of main guitar riff” often found within black metal. The drums are well sounding and clear, and the drummer really plays musically on this album, highlighting the riffs with small accents and fills – and the guitars speak volumes – i really don’t wanna bring up the shoegaze black metal-thing again, but it’s hard not to. But this never fails to bring out the right emotions, like i said this is black metal, and their performance is beautiful and serious. A couple of downsides for me is that like i mentioned the vocals take up too much space at times, not really giving you so many opportunities to connect with the riffs as he is almost constantly on, and for me i think the music would breathe better if there wasn’t vocals on (almost) every part and riff. Don’t get me wrong, he does a great job and is a very versatile vocalist, utilising his voice as an instrument which adapts to the different atmospheres of the album, growling, whistling, laughing, crooning et cetera, but for me it feels a bit much at times.
Also this won’t bother new fans as Firebirds is an amazing track, but i was disappointed to find that they reused this track from their 12” from last year, expecting all new material from start to finish. Nevertheless like i said it’s an amazing track and really kicks off the second half of the album after the little interlude that sorta divides the album in two. And the second part of the album is where the psychedelic qualities really shine, lot of shimmering guitars and thick atmospheres really makes you wanna pour another glass of red wine and bask in the music. The last track really rounds this album up, a majestic 10 minute exercise in occult black metal. Almost progressive, most certainly epic, and really, if i was to pull out one song to showcase their sound to someone unfamiliar with their music, i’d show them Summon Surreal Surrender. This album is a strong debut, if you can call it that (as mentioned they have earned a steady following through the years with numerous demos and EPs, with the quality of each release being pretty high) and after allowing this album to grow on me i am confident this will be one of the best releases for me in 2018. Norwegian black metal lives!
1. Certainly Not
2. Arrival Yet Again
3. Worlds Open, Worlds Collide
4. Stellar Storms
5. An Utter Lack Of Meaning, Hither To Unbeknownst, Suddenly Revealed
7. Sordid Sanctitude
8. Rise In Red
10. Summon Surreal Surrender
Total Playing Time: 46:25