Genre: Death Metal
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Ossuarium are an interesting case of a death metal band with plenty of doom elements and their debut album “Living Tomb” is a big leap forward compared to their first demo a couple of years ago. This band from Portland exercises its painful sound with doses of slow-paced death metal, as well as funeral doom metal, and still manages to release a forty-minute record that has several tracks (eight in number). Many of its aspects serve the purpose of the music very well, starting from the well written guitar lines that build the album’s thick atmosphere.
It is obvious that Ossuarium are influenced from classic old school death metal, nuances of Autopsy can be found here and there too, the riffs are heavy like bricks and the entire guitar playing, including the solos, is noteworthy. When at times, some ominous clean guitar parts are thrown in the mix, that’s when funeral doom comes to mind, and especially bands like Evoken or Mournful Congregation. “Living Tomb” is not two hours long though, so their material spans from four to seven minutes for each main track, and that’s what might make the band a bit more accessible to people who are not into the majesty of the aforementioned bands. Ossuarium present a good collection of musical ideas, which is not completely original, but it is pleasant nonetheless with several changes and a good structure.
The Achilles’ heel of “Living Tomb” is the drums, which is a major suffering point of the whole album. It is not as dynamic as it should be, and that can be heard during the moments when the band plays slightly faster, where it gets a bit flat. The real issue has to do with how they sound though, since the production has given them a louder than needed, and very plastic sound (the toms might start being annoying after a while). Often, the rest of the tracks are enjoyable and made me forget about this, with favorite tracks being “Vomiting Black Death” and “Writhing In Emptiness”, but in general it can’t be overlooked.
This setback is confidently dealt with by the compositions, which are above average for the most part, as well as the really great vocals, which offer the deep growling sound that they should. Therefore, “Living Tomb” is a good album for fans of slower death metal, with a great vibe and easy to listen to. If the drums were any better, this would already be a great moment for this year’s death metal, and I still think part of the audience will wholly accept it. Ossuarium does worth our attention, and I will be waiting for nothing less than an exceptional second release, when and if it comes.