Loading...
Review

Officium Triste – The Death of Gaia Review

Band: Officium Triste
Album: The Death of Gaia
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Genre: Doom Metal
Country: Netherlands
Release Date: December 13th, 2019

Winter does weird things to people. As the daylight slowly dies, so does humanity. Depression rates go up. Everything dries up despite the frozen water lying all over the ground everywhere, leaving skin cracked and dry. All sorts of diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis, get more dire in the winter. People tend to write more excellent doom metal records. And of course, some people’s activity level plummets as they choose to stay inside more often.

OK, so I made one of those up. However, there do seem to be a bunch of excellent doom metal records coming out as the Northern hemisphere prepares for the cold. The Drowning, Slow, and Esoteric all released excellent doom metal albums recently, Oak is releasing a highly anticipated album soon, and Fvneral Fvkk and Atlantean Kodex both released excellent albums just as the leaves started turning. With all of this sudden competition, Officium Triste enters the fray with a somewhat different take on the genre as they release their sixth full-length album, The Death Of Gaia.

The Death of Gaia is much gentler than most doom metal. This is not like the dark turmoil of Fvneral Fvkk, the crushing death/doom of The Drowning, or the grandiose epic nature of Atlantean Kodex. Instead, The Death of Gaia ushers in the new season with a soft, melancholic album that may leave some metal listeners wanting more. There is no aggression whatsoever here, except maybe near the end of the album, even by doom metal standards. If you’re looking for something with energy or really even a solid sense of progression, The Death of Gaia will leave you feeling cold.

However, there is a lot of strength in the subdued sound here. The orchestration is beautiful, with each string instrument serving its own purpose and giving its own contribution to the somewhat sorrowful ethos of The Death of Gaia. No note seems out of place or awkward. Some notes don’t push things forward, but in general, this is not the sort of album where anything is pushing forward anyways. This is more of a slow, meandering, aimless walk through the woods than anything that has a destination.

Officium Triste have written a long album, and the slow to moderate pace at which it proceeds only stretches it out. This was no problem for me, as I was lost in the sound instead of getting brutalized. However, someone who is waiting for something to happen will not appreciate the extra time taken on each track. Most of the songs could have been significantly shorter without losing anything important. This did not affect my listening experience, but it may affect yours.

The vocals don’t quite work. They’re fine in isolation, but in the context of the full album the grating nature of harsh vocals do not serve the rest of The Death of Gaia. Some more clean vocals would have been appreciated. The one track that has clean guest vocals, “The Guilt,” is an excellent showcase of what could have been. Even though the guest vocals themselves aren’t anything amazing, they add enough variety and warmth to make the growling vocals more acceptable.The Death of Gaia doesn’t progress a whole lot, nor does it offer any of the emotional outlets that metal typically does. Additionally, if you are not enamored this thing may seem to drag on forever. However, Officium Triste have released an album that will definitely stick with a listener who is looking for something less abrasive or extreme than what metal usually is. If the winter blues are leaving you less of a fan of energy and aggression than usual, Officium Triste show that it’s possible to create a good album that is comfortable where it is.

The Death of Gaia doesn’t progress a whole lot, nor does it offer any of the emotional outlets that metal typically does. Additionally, if you are not enamored this thing may seem to drag on forever. However, Officium Triste have released an album that will definitely stick with a listener who is looking for something less abrasive or extreme than what metal usually is. If the winter blues are leaving you less of a fan of energy and aggression than usual, Officium Triste show that it’s possible to create a good album that is comfortable where it is.

Rating: 7/10

Tracklist:

  1. The End Is Nigh
  2. World in Flames
  3. Shackles
  4. A House in a Field in the Eye of the Storm
  5. The Guilt
  6. Just Smoke and Mirrors
  7. Like a Flower in the Desert
  8. Losing Ground

Total Playing Time: 56:02

Click here to visit Officium Triste’s Bandcamp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.