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Review: Owl – Nights In Distortion

by Vedrana Dobrić

Owl – Nights In Distortion

1. We Are Made for Twilight
2. Transparent Monument
3. Anamnesis
4. Inanna in Isolation
5. Abortion of Empathy
6. Madness Is the Glory of This Life

Label: Temple of Torturous
Date: September 7, 2018


Sadness is well-known to everyone. This unpleasant feeling tells us how certain loss is significant and how important it is to accept life and ourselves after that loss. Sometimes we don’t dare feel it completely and the consequences can be painful. The formula for that doesn’t exist. It needs only to accept that the end can be a new beginning.

Such is the story of German Doom Metal band Owl. After more than four years of recording, their third full edition “Nights In Distortion” almost didn’t see the light of day. However, in September it was released as a posthumous document of band’s bass player René Marquis. That way the album has brought the band back to life through Temple of Torturous Records. Its concept has become a catharsis for a new beginning, and the death of a friend and bandmate has only deepened that significance and bereavement.

The founder of the band and the primary songwriter Christian Kolf, who’s also a member of the critically acclaimed Progressive Doom/Death Metal band Valborg and founder of the label Zeitgeister, created the band in the middle of the 00’s as essential for further exploration and challenge of his musical creativity. This long-time experimental project with a colleague from Valborg and ex-drummer of Centaurus-A, Patrick Schroeder, undoubtedly influenced the development of Metal.

Band’s evolution has a truly impressive development over time. What was initially conceived as a Death Metal project with lyrics specific for Industrial Metal and Technical Extreme Metal, over the years developed along with Kolf’s eclectic taste into which it was involved the death of his friend. The final result is a well-thought Post-Metal Sludge material of six forces typical of early Type O Negative, Paradise Lost, Jesu, Neurosis or Anathema.

Maybe their previous three EPs are strictly bound within the foundational ideas, but on the album “Into the Absolute” they set new guitar playing base, deviating from their typical Death Sludge sound as heard on its predecessor “You Are the Moon, I Am the Night”. In this experimental moment, Industrial Rock with the specific vocals and large amount of Epic Sludge Doom enormously erupted.

The fact is that on this third full-length the band gives just a hint of their previous release. The most surprising detail is that the singer, for the purpose of recording these sessions, brought a new bass player for the band. Maybe that explains why “Nights In Distortion” is significantly different of the Extreme Metal on which the band was previously focused.

The point is that the album is not technically accompanied by Modern Sludge sound as their returnee EP “Orion Fenix”, which came out in March. It proposes four-year-inspired reflections of various editions.

The album was announced with three singles “Madness Is the Glory of This Life”, “Anamnesis” and “Transparent Monument”. The first single in the line and the latest on the album, “Madness is the Glory of This Life”, wholly completes this issue. In six and a half minutes it highlights gothic nature and passive aggression which presents emotional core of this release.

I have to admit that “Nights in Distortion” is the most accessible to date, as well as the least extreme edition of the band. Although the direction of the melodic structure of Industrial Rock with the influence of the Gothic Death Doom Metal is still extremely curved, subtle bass shading relieved the dark nature and diminished the aggression of this edition. Recommended for catharsis of disillusionment and sorrow.

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