Ophidian I - _Solvet Saeclum_
(Soulflesh Collector Records, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (5 out of 10)
Ophidian I is a death metal band from Iceland. You usually don't find such ferocious music coming from this distant and picturesque island nation in the north Atlantic. The ethereal sounds of Sigur Rós or the stretched out ambience of Sólstafir's version of black metal could cross your mind, but none of that is to be found on Ophidian I's debut album _Solvet Saeclum_. It's a very straightforward modern death metal album with influences from Atheist, Necrophagist and Obscura (and no, these two are not 'pretty much the same'). The album's statistics will tell you pretty much all you need to know prior to listening. There are nine tracks here that add up to forty-two minutes which means an average song length of just over four minutes.

The album kicks off with "Mark of an Obsidian" which starts with a slightly oriental bass line that poked my interest very quickly. A similar feel is created during the guitar solo on "Solvet Saeclum" and by the bass again on the second half of "The Discontinuity of a Fundamental Element". There's a lot of melodic lead guitar work which comes out very audible. "Eclipse" has lots of melodic bits and a very nice transition with clean guitar chords while "Shedyet" and "Ethereal Abyss" boast some dizzying solos. Now all that is well and good, but my main problem with this album is that it's not loud enough. The production job sounds like it has been done very well in the early stages but somehow, the final mixing came out lacking this feeling of a full volume that can submerge the listener.

When it comes to musicianship and technical ability, Ophidian I have loads of them and putting out a debut like _Solvet Saeclum_ is a sign of great potential. However, this doesn't seem like enough for the years to come because the music tends to blend in with lots of other death metal bands. In the future, I would be pleased with a louder album and a sound with a bit more character than _Solvet Saeclum_.

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/OphidianI

(article published 29/7/2012)

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