Released: 2017, Goathorned Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The French Metal scene continues to thrive. Add to the list of Gallic luminaries the name of Ominous Shrine. This Blackened Death Metal project is the brainchild of members of Malapeste and Dysylumn. "Ο δρόμος της αποθεώσεως", (Greek for "The Way Of Confession"), their debut release is a twisted cankerous mass, and a damn challenging listen.
The album opens with the spooky, portentous "Intro". It hums and groans, and doesn't really go anywhere nor set the tone for what is to follow. The record begins proper with "Vitriol" all viscous buzzsaw guitars and soulless blight vocals, underpinned by some jangly and somewhat clumsy attempts at atmospherics, followed by by a bit of predictable brutality. So far so trite. Next up is "Katabasis", a fairly chilling exercise which sadly comes off as a bit formulaic. Proceedings further with "Stase" which is as ominous as the band's epithet but still treads a similarly rote path to the previous tracks.
The album's standout cut "Macrocosme" is up next and shines like a beacon above the other tracks. Indeed, it manages to get the light/shade balance just right and is an outstanding effort. "Ascension Extatique" is almost as good; a blackened ride straight into the bowels of Hell. Alas the band are unable to maintain the quality level. Closer "Ain Soph Aur" is dull and uninspired and sounds like a band asleep at the wheel.
Altogether the album is far from terrible. It is just not terribly interesting. One of my biggest criticisms is that sonically it sounds like it was recorded underwater, and that band are fronted by a Mysteron! It should be noted that some of the riffing is impressive, and on occasion the band succeed with some distinctly menacing and creepy atmospherics. A partial triumph.
Review by Owen Thompson