Ossarium – Onward (2013)


Ossarium is a simply a bucket of fun. Lots of simple Grave-style 90s death metal riffs with some occasional wacky but catchy keyboards. Abundant driving mid-tempo grooves and a nice, heavy snare drum keep intensity throughout. I dig how the drummer doesn’t overdo it but keeps things nice and steady. This album is super 90s sounding. Sounds like if you took Grave, Unleashed, Samael, and the heavier Faith No More parts and mixed them in a blender and turned it into a delicious metallic smoothie. With just a hint of Ramstein. Reminds me of cassettes I used to buy from Century Media and Black Mark in the 90s, especially the latter when cool stuff like Séance was on there.

There’s a nice mix of catchy, simple riffs. Yet the songs are well balanced, since the arrangements are somewhat complex. I really like the sound levels on this recording and am impressed with overall tightness of the band and cool Sepultura-like guitar tone. The singer sings just enough , and at all the perfect times. Does a good job of growling but still making some key phrases easy to understand. Their sound is basically pretty consistent on the first three tracks. The last two tracks slow down a bit and get chunkier and more progressive. That keeps things interesting as the album itself wraps itself up towards the end. The final track goes all over the place musically and is rad. This is a must-listen.

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9 thoughts on “Ossarium – Onward (2013)”

  1. AK-47 says:

    Isn’t this the same nigga who blew up and spammed comments on this site just a week or two ago?

  2. This sounds like later Bolt Thrower gone Emperor instead of 100% heavy metal. The problem is the same as later, post For Victory Bolt Thrower: there are only a couple memorable tracks on the album.

  3. John D. says:

    I started laughing with a kind of grimace on my face as soon as I saw the album cover, reminding me of toy soldiers, or of male fashion models striking poses for a magazine appealing to masculine tastes; the band’s logo strikes me as faux, and the mere mention of a smoothie… steers it into the Mall where the Hard Rock Cafe is. I imagine Edward Scissorhands injected with tranquilizers, chained to a barber-chair and forced to give haircuts to hipsters.

    This music would only become interesting to me once the tranquilizers gradually wore off and Edward Scissorhands suddenly became aware of what was being done to him, how he was being exploited, and he started slashing faces and clipping off earlobes.

    Melodic death metal is a difficult proposition, containing within itself the seeds of its own betrayal. It might succeed if inward tension is maintained and carried along with an overall awareness of the traitor in the camp, biding one’s time before moving in for the unmasking. Otherwise, distinctiveness and edge is lost, no texture or variation or unexpected twists. Everything interchangeable churns itself down to mud. Sedated or tranquilized, “death metal” loses its grip and gravitas, and drifts away from reality, declawed and defanged, even a dress and lipstick and a wig put on it. It’s a strange idea to think of death metal which goes down like a smoothie and soothes. (To down a metallic smoothie would I think land one in the hospital.)

    This is all amusing to me on another level, considering the reviews on this site of alcoholic beverages and tobacco. When art itself is not achieved, the closest parallel is to luxury items. A compromise is made, a settling for the next best thing – a fine cigar or a snifter of cognac. “Signaling” is even in that. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s bourbon or beer, or cigars or types of tobacco, smoothies or lattes or other trendy drinks, language is still used in such a way that the mind remains stuck down in the realm of consumer products. The mall rat may suck down a slurpy, and the elitist with his finer discernment and good taste consumes higher quality things, but at bottom it’s really the same thing, isn’t it? Of course I’m quite aware that some are more conscious than others of the irony, and in the larger awareness can have some fun. (Brett, I get the humor of your remark in the comment section of the “Five Budget Bourbons” post.)

    I’m just going by the one track posted here and your review, and from that the vibe I’m getting. Steven, now the shoe is on the other foot. I think this is lax criticism which doesn’t make me want to listen more to the music. A much better job could be done. I might be intrigued to listen even to a bad piece of music if the critic exercised more thought and craft with words.

    This isn’t in any way an attempt to put you down or disparage you; I’m still on the side of trying to be helpful and constructive. There’s always room for learning and improvement. That’s what I always have my eye on. I think some credit is deserved for trying, and for continuing to try. That’s much more than the majority do. Most stay outside in the shadows with masks pulled over their faces to hide their identities, throwing poo like ill-tempered and spoiled monkeys.

    P.S. This is a sadly true but very good observation by Lance V. in his review of The Western Front by Sacriphyx:

    “…metal today is more attractive for the idea it represents rather than as a source through which those interested in concrete music may develop rich, interesting patterns that are satisfying in the immediate and explained by the abstract.”

  4. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Well done Grave-spoof except that the drumming is positively lame and the keyboarder appears because someone found him in a recyling bin.

    “Recommended if you like: Tribute bands. Fassenacht”


  5. BlackPhillip says:

    Do what now?

  6. Yui Hirasawa says:

    A bucket of fun, wacky keyboards, grooves, and a smoothie? Sounds a lot like my band! Fun things are fun!

    1. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Translation: I consider ridiculous performances entertaining because all I want is laugh about something, that is, look down on it. The irony here is – of course – that the people creating your amusements laugh about your ridiculously simple to please mind substitute ‘all the way to the bank’, as the hackneyed phrase goes.

  7. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

    Novelty is great! Make metal ‘fun’ again! I’m going to go stick my head in the microwave!!

  8. Cornrose says:

    Is this Cefala guy for real? I smell a rat!!! Crush Skull Tanks go Boom!!! Wow.

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