Ophthalamia - _To Elishia_
by: Drew Snow (
As far as demo songs pressed onto CD are concerned, let's be honest: they usually suck. Demo sound quality, demo song quality, and a general lack of integrity prevails the majority of the time. Ophthalamia's latest release of blackened doom/death, _To Elishia_, however, is different. Yes, these are demo and rehearsal versions of already released songs, and, indeed, the sound quality, for the most part, does in fact leave much to be desired. But this latest offering from Ophthalamia, the first in a couple of years, and to be followed by two more in the months to come, has a couple of things going for it. First, since Ophthalamia is such a superior band in the first place, just about -any- version of their songs would blow 90% of what is out there out of the water. When I say there is not a song created by IT and company that has appeared on their two previous albums that can be called bad, I mean it, and, as such, none of the songs on _To Elishia_ are of low quality. Second, the bad production (which varies; some songs have very high-end, trebly sound, others almost album quality) sometimes actually helps the feel of the album, creating a raw, edgy sound which fits some of the songs perfectly. Sometimes the production hurts matters, however: one listen to the cover of "Deathcrush" at a high volume is guaranteed to have your ears bleeding, and the cover of "Sacrifice" by Bathory isn't much better, either. Those two songs are the exception, though, as the rest of the material present on _To Elishia_ is of typical Ophthalamian quality, and should be enough to tide one over until the release of some new material (finally) in the form of the upcoming full-length, _Dominion_, this summer.
(article published 6/7/1997)
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