Metal from Luxemburg? Well that’s a first. In a world currently running on U.S. brutality, the recent over exposed tag of Metalcore and the crazed chunks of European Black Metal tainting the otherwise golden areas of Scandinavian Metal we’re blessed with everyday, you might wanna ask yourself: “how good can a band from Luxemburg be, what exactly can they offer that’s so exciting?”. My answer to your posing question is OPHIDIAN, come closer and I’ll tell you more.
This band is definitely Metal and yet much more, they’re not trying to be groundbreaking but rather put all of their energy into shaping a sound identifying with various hot Metal profiles. Open minded approaches to the various Metal genres seems to be the trick here, gothic atmospheres, cellos, thrash-y/death-y riffs reminiscent of ARCH ENEMY and CARCASS, Power Metal leads and acoustic guitars, the quality instrumental side of the band isn’t missing though it’s audible that this is a band on its way, still learning. Leaving out keyboards and electronics, the sound of OPHIDIAN peaks with the versatile and somewhat deceiving vocals of Caroline Clement who does everything from soft clean singing to Sabina Classen shouting and double layered Black Metal screaming, it’s a fairly well mixed sound in the end.
Caroline’s performance is quite ok but needs a bit of more nurturing, she hasn’t discovered her range yet and it’s also obvious that she’s new to all this. It doesn’t necessarily damage the album, her execution is good for most of the time, her extreme moments are convincing and the strong harmonies (see at the end of “Failed” for a taste of her real talent) often appear a bit out of place, but you get used to them like you got used to AMARAN in the same fashion.
There are slow and fast songs, most of them being from five up to seven minutes. Highlights include the appropriately agonising “Agony”, the catchy PARADISE LOST influenced “New Shores” and the acoustic warming “Not Yet Found”. The faster songs, especially “Weak”, mysteriously has riffs marked with the name Amott on them, including small Prog twists in the guitar playing throwing me back to “Stigmata”, which may seem a bit too much but that’s how I perceive it. Also check out “Freedom Denied”, the intro riffing is clearly inspired by NEVERMORE.
Again, a pretty good effort for a debut, the influences are easy to spot, the musicianship is good, songs have the hooks, the sound mix is deceivingly well worked out without sounding overproduced or cuddled to digital perfection, everything looks ok from here and hopefully we’ll hear more from this moniker in the future, looking forward to it actually. (Online August 15, 2005)