Non Opus Dei - _The Quintessence_
(Pagan Records, 2006)
by: James Montague (5.5 out of 10)
The first thing that struck me upon first listening to _The Quintessence_ was that I'd never heard such magnificent bass drum production in black/death metal. Every single pedal hit cuts through the mix with thunderous authority -- not too clean, just outstandingly fierce and heavy. The bass guitar is also perfectly mixed, providing a rock solid foundation to build on.

In the higher registers, I'm not so sold on what these guys are doing. Vaguely reminiscent of fellow Poles Lux Occulta in their post-black metal avantgarde stage, or Hypocrisy's mid-tempo groove oriented form of blackened death metal, Non Opus Dei simply aren't as compelling as either of the aforementioned groups. On the whole, the music is too disjointed, with too much of the ultramodern choppy riff style that I find singularly uninteresting. The guitars do little for me, oriented towards atonal blipping and bleeping rather than any kind of discernable melody.

Mind you, the positives aren't entirely limited to the bassline. Although the music has a sort of space age atmosphere that generally leaves me cold, _The Quintessence_ still has enough rawness and rough edge to keep an old-school fanatic vaguely connected. Furthermore, the somewhat corny track "Das ist Krieg" hails a looser, more aggressive and spontaneous series of closing numbers that ensure I don't quit the game prematurely. The album ends with an enjoyable outro featuring flutes and acoustic guitars played in a frantic jig. Could they not have integrated some of these organic touches into the preceding songs? I'm disappointed they didn't try.

Although Non Opus Dei didn't capture my fickle heart, they are at least original and fairly accomplished musicians. They're also extremely prolific, with this being their third full-length release in an eighteen month period. Give them a shot, and if you become a fan then Tiny Tim will never go hungry again.


(article published 15/4/2007)

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