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Review

Ontborg – Within The Depths Of Oblivion Review

Band: Ontborg
Album: Within The Depths Of Oblivion
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Country: Italy
Release Date: May 24th, 2019  

Reinvention is a tricky, but necessary part of the creative process for any band. There have been countless bands who have failed to leave a long-lasting impact because they simply do the same thing on every album. While the most celebrated bands often have varying and innovative discographies. Ontborg is a band formed by members of the former Voices of Decay. These guys decided to start making melodic Death Metal, and Within The Depths Of Oblivion is their debut. While the album is decent, it has some notable issues as well.

First and foremost, this is a highly competent record. It is consistently well played, well produced, and well performed. The vocals are steady and appropriate, and the instrumentation is crisp. The band also demonstrates their clear knowledge of atmosphere. A Storm Breaks The Silence is an excellent, cinematic track that would fit over the climactic moments of a metal-themed action movie. I love how the vocals and instrumentation build and blend on the chorus. Die To Be Alive makes me feel like I’m on a ship being pummeled in a storm that I won’t be escaping from. The volume of the guitars combined with their placement in the mix is suffocating in the best way. The opener, Living Is A Torture, is also quite good. It’s heavy, gets right to the point, and the vocals are solid and steady throughout. The first half of the album is quite good and features its best tracks.

However, the album begins to drop in quality after the sixth song. While Ontborg’s talent is still present, it isn’t utilized in a meaningful way following Die To Be Alive. The record shifts and becomes tonally much more downtrodden and musically slower. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it ends up being jarring since there was no real indication of this change anywhere in the first half of the album. There isn’t even so much as a musical interlude taking us between the two parts. Snow Of Lethe (the longest song at over seven minutes) simply starts with a slow, reverbed out intro. The track does eventually pick up and becomes what is essentially a Black Metal song. However, nothing about it is all that interesting. The song fails to leave a solid impression and seriously harms the album’s pacing. No Memories Beyond, the next track, doesn’t correct this misstep. I gave this song an extra listen each time I played through this album and I would not be able to remember it if not for my notes. The song is more melodic than its predecessor, but it’s entirely forgettable. At this point, the album has spent 12 minutes meandering and it partially lost my interest with two songs remaining. The penultimate song, The Long Awaited Winter, is a decent track with a much stronger structure and performance. This song is also largely influenced by Black Metal but is a better listen that brings some life back into the album. Black Garden closes the album, but it left me wanting more. The first minute of this song features two garish guitar tracks competing for who can give me the fastest headache. This song does have a feeling of finality to it, but it felt as if it were building to an epic breakdown that it never reached. The second half of this album is far more inconsistent than the first.

Despite the second half’s shortcomings, the competency is still there. Ontborg’s biggest fault on this album is that it does not feel like they knew what they wanted this project to be. The experience of the band members didn’t save this album from falling victim to the same shortcomings as most other debut albums. However, I still find this to be a very promising debut project overall. The most important thing for Ontborg to improve upon is their direction. Within The Depths Of Oblivion tried to blend more riotous melodic Death Metal songs, with slower, blackened ones. While it did not work as intended, I feel they could make a great album if they picked one side of the spectrum and really ran with it.

Rating: 6.5/10

Tracklist:

  1. Living Is A Torture
  2. Within The Depths Of Oblivion
  3. Entwined In Darkness
  4. A Storm Breaks The Silence
  5. This Time
  6. Die To Be Alive
  7. Snow Of Lethe
  8. No Memories Beyond
  9. The Long Awaited Winter
  10. Black Garden

Total Playing Time: 49:44

Click here to visit Ontborg’s Bandcamp

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