Oktor - _Another Dimension of Pain_
(Solitude Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (3 out of 10)
The visual art adorning this album is pretty intense and unique. It portrays the human flesh being pierced by some jagged wooden branches; torsos, heads, hands, backs, legs, mouths -- all being pierced by those agonizing wood-like growths; this art is one of the most accomplished works out there that so exquisitely, elegantly and precisely depicts, by mere graphic means, the essence of sorrow and pain, both mental and physical. So just by looking at this fine art, an eerie feeling of gratitude is registered, for the fact the Universe has put the listener on -this- side of pain, and not on the other, preventing him/her from becoming one of those poor, poor creatures who wallow in never ending agony, like those depicted on this album's gorgeous cover and booklet. The art may not be the most intricate or visually attractive, but it emanates the 'feel' of an enormous pain in such a strong way, rarely will you find such an embodiment of suffering in other graphic artworks.

_Another Dimension of Pain_ is, however, much less impressive musically than the visual artwork. These Polish dudes, despite having existed since 2003, have written and recorded pretty amateurish and dull an album, comprised of half-realized ideas, half-baked song writing, amateurish piano instrumental pieces and an evident scarcity of ideas.

Oktor try, on their debut full-length album, to tread less traveled roads in the realm of doom metal; in that sense they succeed in providing the listener with a very eclectic recording showcasing numerous aesthetics, among which are neoclassical, doom/death, a touch of funeral doom, some progressive metal aspirations and gothica. The weapons of choice are multiple and varied and the songs are quite eventful and busy, ranging from the avantgarde to the spoken word, to the melancholic clean singing, to death growls and beyond. Unfortunately, the elements barely stick well together, if at all; and none of the songs, passages, riffs, singing or growling lines genuinely depicts the essence of pain and sorrow. None.

Despite belonging to the doom metal niche, this album is dragging; going where? actually nowhere. The music seems like drifting aimlessly, caught up in its own perpetual daydreaming, with barely any dynamic qualities to push those lifeless and boring songs forward to some sort of conclusion. Oktor are unfortunately not so good at writing songs, let alone engaging ones, and thus this album rapidly establishes a relationship of utter alienation between its contents and the listener. With total alienation comes apathy, and there's nothing worse for a musical piece, than to strike apathy in the hearts of its audience; nothing can be worse for a musician than to cause the listener to actually go indifferent and numb towards one's musical piece. Think of the insult, wasting so much time and passion to create something and then getting a cold shoulder from the audience of that very niche of music said creation was meant to entertain in the first place.

We rarely use the word 'boring' in the context of doom metal, because let's face it: doom metal isn't for everyone, and it can be indeed somewhat uneventful for those who are uninitiated with the style; but those who love doom metal, always take into consideration this type of music requires patience and endurance. But man, this album is indeed fucking boring. The doom/death riffs are all cliché-ridden and the melodic parts, especially where the vocalist presents his soft vocal performance (think of a third-tier latter-day Katatonia ballad with no sense of melody), are extremely dull and uninspired, to say the least. The only lifeline saving this album from being a complete disaster is found in those scarce moments within the longer tracks (there are three of those in total) where everything seems to fall into place and the compositions seem to work for a short while; but where's the pain? where's the gloom? where are the emotions hiding? Not here, not on this recording.

_Another Dimension of Pain_ is a strange album with an odd structure; but strange is good in our book. We only wish this album's musical content was on par with its weirdness. _Another Dimension of Pain_ is painless, sterile and boring, and thus, doesn't make us want to revisit it any time soon, if ever.

Contact: http://oktordoom.bandcamp.com/

(article published 2/5/2015)


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