o.68 is a shorter version of the full name Odpörovät 1968, and if you put this word minus the number into the almighty Google translate you will notice that this is Czech for “resist”. Recalling what happened in Prague during the year 1968 I am assuming that we all can grasp what the band name is historically referring to. The band is however based in Regensburg, Germany but the sole member Dusan Belohlavek has his roots in the Czech Republic, and hence we can make a connection of the band name to its creator. Now, let us turn to the music! Elend is a 68 min long story of funeral doomish metal, all born and developed through a one-man mind. The album begins its presentation to the listened with the Lovecraftish quote:
Memories long faded return to me from out of the darkness. Even now, I disintegrate in their presence. It turns my stomach into broken glass. In the end, I’ll find myself where I began. And I shall start again.
And through this, the song Mournau is born. This is dark, compact and heavy music yet it is immediately distinguishable in the sound when compared to other bands in the genre. The riffs are very catchy and may from time to time remind you of how they used to structure the riffs in “the good ol’ days” of the 70’s; the nascence of heavy and dark metal. This is especially clear in the song Nothing But Death Remains, which stands out from the rest of the album offering a more cheery atmosphere and unexpectedly contains vocals that reminds of goregrind pig grunts. The “guitars” sound like they are actually not guitars but bass guitars played through various effect pedals, which definitely adds a special edge to the music and makes o.68 sound very special indeed. But as a consequence there is a lack of depth and dimensions that a orthodox down-tuned guitar usually would offer, and that overpowering soundscape which funeral doom usually brings upon you lags a bit behind. In addition, the usage of a drum machine is not surprisingly a frail point of the album, decreasing the songs to a level less than the threshold value for what this type of music generally needs. With that said, let us focus on the positive aspects of Elend, which all in all contains music that is gloomy and slow enough to invoke a desolate and tranquil feeling, yet with a piquant groovy pinch to it. It is obvious that there is a honest vision in the creation and structures of the songs, and the melodies within are nicely flowing along with the pulse of the music. The highlight of the album could easily be Mother of Negation, which manages to be almost stoner-like but still keeps that funeral core intact, and this also is the case for Zeitgeist Nokturne that starts off in a very deviant and near-happy way. There is probably as much to say about Elend as there are reviewers out there but we can basically sum it down to that with this edgy and rare release o.68 have proved to be as creative as they are different.
Label: Ominous Silence
Avantgenre: Avantgarde Funeral Doom
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/o68
Review online since: 30.08.2011 / 18:02:54
01 – Mournau
02 – Nothing But Death Remains
03 – Kremation
04 – Abkehr
05 – Mother Of Negation
06 – Zeitgeist Nokturne
07 – Mortal
08 – The Lowest Day
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