Metal Review – Owl: Into the Absolute

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Metal Review – Owl: Into the Absolute
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Owl: Into the Absolute
Ambient, Death Metal, Doom Metal, Drone
Zeitgeister Records
May 12th, 2014
Release length: 18:27
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Germany’s Owl is a two-piece group that has been circulating among the country’s most obscure of Metal undergrounds since their debut self-titled full-length dropped in 2011. The band’s combination of Death Metal and Doom Metal with Ambient and Drone physics has made them one of the more interesting outfits to discover, all the while being far from the most accessible to the casual fans of said styles. That release and 2013’s follow-up You Are the Moon, I Am the Night have still earned raved reviews among critics and those who understand what the duo of drummer/percussionist Patrick Schroeder (former Slon and Tortur among others) and Christian Kolf (Island, Skarab, Valborg to name a few) who handles the rest of the instruments, vocals and synths. It’s been about a year since their last outing and Owl returns with a new under nineteen minute EP titled Into the Absolute. With previous offerings considered more an experience than just a spin, does this release live up to the expectations, or does it stray too far from its Death and Doom Metal roots?

While the title track finds a miserable atmosphere of Doom Metal speeds and suiting chords in the introduction and some bridges, what follows is an interesting change of pace. The chorus does utilize some chugging guitars that are geared more to Death Metal that mix in some of the droning Djent that appears in the main verses. This is what most of the track seems to use as a foundation and while interestingly different and hard to process at times, it makes for one of the most impressive trance-enducing methods one could possibly come across thanks to the distortion used. Sadly, this doesn’t happen again, but “Unearthly Arcana” makes up for it well enough with it’s stable droning elements to the drums behind the crushing slower paced guitars. There are some passages with a blackened touch such as the blast beat bridges and the transcendent slower piece starting around four minutes in that gradually picks up until the end.

While the rest of Into the Absolute is breathtaking and unique, it’s the song “We Ascend As We Fall” that will have you addicted. The song sticks mostly to complex riffs and deeper hooks that make the punishing music all the more addicting. But what really sticks out is the chorus that is similar to something from Stapping Young Lad or The Devin Townsend Project‘s Ki album in which it basically thrusts you right into pure euphoria after a technical bridge best suited to that moment of erotic tension before reaching that zen-like moment of sexual climax. And just like that, when the performance is over with, you get the moment of realization in the instrumental “Apparition,” a moving instrumental that blends both dark beauty against an ominous sensation highlighted nicely by the additional synths and distant pounding effects.

If you are unfamiliar with Owl, Into the Absolute will be a rocky pill to swallow at first, which is understandable given all the different styles this two-piece successfully covers in such a short time span. If you’re absolutely unsure about what to expect, simply look at the recording’s artwork. Never has there been a more literal representation of what you are about to hear than the gloomy deep blue and violet clouds that adorn it. Nearly every song is miserable and genuinely sounds like the colors of the front around the circle with the band logo and title. But the artwork aside, Into the Absolute is literally under nineteen minutes of just unique, moody, even euphoric music that anyone craving something fresh or new will immediately wet themselves over once it all sinks in. If you’re one of the few ho never heard of Owl before then Into the Absolute is a mandatory introduction that isn’t just an experience, but more of a journey that leaves you wanting more.

01. Into the Absolute – 4:17
02. We Ascend As We Fall – 3:53
03. Apparition – 2:47
04. Unearthly Arcana – 7:31
Initial Pressing Score: 9.5/10

Owl
Owl

Digital review copy of this release provided by Zeitgeister Records via Catharsis PR.