On their new album Meridians, the Virginia group The Osedax perform an absolutely gripping take on blackened doom metal. They’ve slowed down the styles’ traditional proceedings, not just musically, but emotionally as well. They’ve enveloped the grandiosity of their riffs in repeated minutes-long portions of chilling ambiance, and when they abruptly turn from that soft beat-less atmosphere into blast beat driven blackened fury, the effect feels like launching into real, physical drama like some kind of roller coaster. But again — the group doesn’t end there. Their physically foreboding, incredibly thick-sounding guitar work feels somber, and even sad at times, like they’ve personalized this experience for a powerful position of surveying some kind of emotional wreckage.
This album only features four tracks, but each song possesses a unique and memorable character. Song one, called “Offen,” proves startlingly gripping right away. After starting out with that ambiance, The Osedax gradually build their guitar riffing and drum rhythms until — slowly but surely — listening feels somewhat like standing in the middle of a tornado, and that’s not exactly an easily dismissed experience. It’s grating but peacefully solid. No matter all their blast beats and dramatic mayhem (which they do have plenty of), their huge, steady, and solemn melodies provide a really emotionally resonant backbone. They’ve not dialed any of their blackened fury away into oblivion, but this extra controlled perspective on the mayhem really helps its full gradually more crushing weight feel both musically and emotionally well-defined.
The majority of their sounds prove thick and sludgy feeling, but they spin that physical pile-up of tension into a newly flowing beast of sound, like they’re cracking away at a huge pile of wreckage and light is just beginning to poke through.
Track four features essentially entirely that ambiance, but it’s a very poignantly well-fitting conclusion. The band don’t sound like they’ve just launched off into trying to perform as fast as they can. They’ve crafted an emotionally piercing, personalized musical portrait of confronting this kind of blinding mayhem, musically or otherwise. It’s great, really — thrilling in the moment, and even more adrenaline rush inducing when considering the work as a whole after listening through, like a smile after disembarking from a volatile ride.
Check the full album out below!