|5 (1 votes):|
You are now falling into deep void of sleep and despair, the atmosphere crushing in pressure, reminiscent of anesthesia and unconsciousness. What does this have to do with Urza’s: The Omnipresence of Loss you may ask? Because it is a funeral album of course! Urza is a funeral death/doom metal band from Berlin, Germany and The Omnipresence of Loss is their debut album of 2019. Doom metal is a genre I do not excessively tangle myself with, and this applies to the funeral sub-genre even more so. However, with Urza’s beautiful cover art that portrayed an atmospheric world of darkness and lonesome, I gravitated towards this album and had anticipations of picking an unfamiliar genre to listen to. And upon listening to the over an hour long album, I was thoroughly discomforted with the material presented, as it reverberated with signs of a horrible album. But, in my most recent re-listen, I found myself having much more of a diverting time.
My first grievances were innate from the get go, as they are integral to the album at its core. Funeral metal is excruciatingly taxing on my ability to maintain a consistent level of consciousness and sensible awareness, or in short: It makes me sleepy. I feel I should make it clear that it is no fault of the album on a technical side or the songwriting side, which causes me this minute drowsiness, because there have been albums I’ve fallen asleep to, that were incredibly disagreeably and were not funeral or doom related. However, it is works like the funeral doom metal band Asunder and The Omnipresence of Loss that cause this endurance test of wakefulness that depreciate my opinion of these works. And this not to insult the genre in any way, but the constant droning of the fuzzy guitars and their sluggish yet incessant pace just know how to lull me into a slumber. And it’s a shame as well, as if I were more invested in the genre, I could dissect the numbing hum of the guitars and appreciate their mild beauty. However, what I can appreciate is how well everything fits together in this album.
I’d love to note that on my second listen to this album, I took the initiative to keep myself invested and read along the lyrics to each of the 5 songs featured. And in all honesty, it made the experience better in my opinion, as the lyrics tone of dreary nihilism, loss, melancholy, and all around negativity matched the sluggish, tired tone of the music perfectly. This is an example of lyrics that can make or break an album, and that lyrics actually have purpose and matter almost as much as every other aspect of going into an album. There’s no anger in the vocal delivery as well, but a languid desperation, scarred by pain and misery that accentuate the lyrics tenfold. Thomas’ vocal direction was peculiar at first, using guttural, almost slam like vocal styles to punctuate this album, but in hindsight, his long, drawn out growls, howls, shrieks and cries add a fine level of detail to the abject torment of loss that this album projects. The lyrics themselves, paint a picture of a decimated world torn asunder by plague and illness, whilst also preaching the pain of mortal isolation and death. Couple these lyrics with their delivery, then accentuate both of these with the dream-like imagery of the cover, and boom, perfect album tone that I’m sure every funeral fan will adore, as I found myself coming around to like it.
The sound of the album is to say complex, yet simple in delivery. It’s not quite dream-like or fantastical, and not nightmarish either, almost acting like a purgatory of slumber, lost and miserable. The guitars by Oliver and Marucs are the standard doom pace and don’t stand out on a technical level, but carry a hum that is downright hypnotizing, no doubt a cause for my initial troubles with this album. However, it’s not the same song and dance for the entire duration, as some faster picking is seen on tracks like “Path of Tombs” or echoed acoustics on the album opener “Lost In Decline”. These changes aren’t drastic and meld perfectly with other parts of the songs, whilst also breaking up the monotony, as some of these songs are not afraid to speed things up slightly. The bass as well, courtesy of Marc Leclerc, has a fuzzy, warm timbre to it, which integrated with the guitars, is as soothing as it is course and tired. Hannes on drums provides as well, with an echoed, archaic sound that resonates within the void of these crawling tracks.
While I enjoy singing praises of the highlights of this album, it still comes down to the music for me and what’s going on. An album can have perfect synchronization with itself in all aspects, but at the nitty-gritty, is it for me? I do enjoy the tone, and how it’s executed, but the major problem as I established earlier is that this album puts me to sleep. Do I enjoy reading along and being engaged? Yes, absolutely. Should I have to read to be engaged with an album? No, absolutely not. If it were much shorter, like maybe sheer down the songs a bit, or scrap one or two, that’d be fine, but that can really only be done in the latter. This isn’t the longest album I’ve listened to, only about an hour and two minutes, but being a funeral death/doom metal album, you really feel that run time, minute by minute, second by second. I was not looking forward to the slog of re-listening to this album, as it’s a hefty engagement. But, if you’re into the doom stuff, it’s sure enough to be a bang for your buck.