(TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by Italy’s Order Ov Riven Cathedrals, which was released on July 5, 2017.)
Italian death metal and I have a pretty tense relationship. It tries so hard, and there’s certainly impressive things about it, but I’m usually not impressed. I like Hideous Divinity, and some Hour Of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse, but that’s really it, and even then I’m not so enamored that I couldn’t do without them.
The hyperspeed “let’s out Pole the Polish” aesthetic has always been commendable, and I have nothing against it in and of itself, but I often find that Italian bands lack the sense of efficiency and hooky song-writing that makes the Polish death metal template so appealing. Fleshgod has always been a band I enjoy because of the gimmick they offer (it works), and while I wasn’t impressed with Hideous Divinity at the beginning, they have evolved into a very good Annihilation Of The Wicked-era throwback band, and their new album this year is undeniably one of 2017‘s best.
And that brings me to Order Ov Riven Cathedrals. This is the first time I’ve encountered Italian hyper-speed death metal and actually LOVED it from the first listen. I might even go as far as to say that, at least for me personally, this is the first time the Italian death metal formula has been both perfected and extrapolated upon effectively. The Discontinuity’s Interlude is one of the most unrelenting, savage, and uncompromising death metal albums I’ve heard all year.
OORC (acronym time) do this by pushing the speed even further than any of their countrymen and by incorporating harsh industrial mixing, a bit of Khonsu’s retro ’80s sci-fi synth aesthetic, and a healthy dose of black metal depravity. There’s zero variation on this album, it’s all about destroying you, your family, everything you love, your soul, and your consciousness, until it eventually swallows every galaxy in the universe with a sonic virulence that is overpoweringly devastating. It’s all fast-as-fuck, hook-filled, blackened death metal that aspires to be a swarm of demonic feral ravens picking at your flesh and tearing out your organs with a flair of pomp and circumstance thrown in.
The riffs on this record are straight-up non-stop napalm spray and M60 suppressive fire. Everything is pure Mediterranean menace, melodically speaking, mixed with the chromatic tendencies of primitive black metal. The vocals have that guttural yet putrid quality I like, something like what you hear from guys like Lenzig from Cephalic Carnage or Michel Dekker of The Monolith Deathcult.
The harsh industrial production of this album is an unexpected fit for the band’s sound. While metal sadly seems to emphasize clean coherent mixes maybe a bit too much, I appreciate that these guys went the route of being harsh and overwhelming. It’s grating in that enjoyable way metal can be. It’s oppressive cosmic power personified.
The best Italian death metal record of the year until I hear otherwise. Immensely impressive for a debut. Can’t wait to hear what comes next.