I must say, I don’t listen to enough black metal anymore. This is partly because it has become a joke, with bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir turning it into a Realm is one of those that stand true to the roots, supplying you with 22 minutes of straight up raw, majestic black metal like the good ol’ days of burning churches and making album covers of suicidal band mates making their final statement.
They start right off with sheer evil, without giving you even half a second to warm up to what might come. In this style, most of the bands have some incredibly epic intro of eerie noises, vikings in battle, or other such moments that you could swear came out of a movie you’ve seen before, but I don’t think that has to be an absolute necessity. At about 2:55 in track two, entitled “Cirque De Macabre,” they break into an almost jazzy sounding rhythm, with a very creepy sound lead, that leads right back into pure evil. “Of Gravity and Decay” has a few slight moments of clean guitars which may throw the listener off for a moment, but in a good way because it works perfect with what the rest of the song is doing. On the track “Imbibing Ignorance and Realization” they bust out the clean vocals; sweet, operatic sounding clean vocals that are definitely what made this for me. The songwriting is exactly what you’d expect, with random tempo changes here and there that aren’t exactly technical, but still very interesting considering how well it works for the sound. Plus it’s so melodic and majestic sounding, it brings bands like Emperor to mind more than it does Gorgoroth.
The production is perfect for black metal. Very raw, not over produced like a lot of mainstream bands mentioned before. The vocals are very low in the mix, but still allow you to hear just how high he can get without losing that raspy scream, which is something I can really appreciate because again, it just adds to the raw power of the mix. One of the biggest things that stands out to me (being a bassist) is the fact that the bass is very audible, and he doesn’t just do what the guitarists do, which is a what lots of black metal lacks (keep in mind all you purists out there that I don’t listen to much black metal), and it definitely makes for an enjoyable listen. The drums are especially tight sounding, and the kick has a very natural tone to it, rather than sounding like a basketball bouncing in the court, but a little low in the mix.
Overall, I give some major props to Oneiric Realm. In a scene that is just plastered with corpse paint and mockery (see: any Immortal Photoshop contest), this band sticks to the roots and delivers pure, evil sounding black metal that makes me wish there were more than four songs. Perhaps a full length may be seen in the future? We can only hope, because this is one band that I would definitely like to hear more from. As any internet forum nerd would say, Oneiric Realm is kvlt.