Onirik_Casket Dream VenerationAs suggested by Neige of Alcest, dreams can be a truly inspirational medium to audial art. Personifying places and feelings of the dream world into those of a musical one can produce music that has both character and a buttload of passion behind it (even if the music is shit). Gonius Rex (the man behind Portugal’s Onirik) is another musician that taps into his own REMs for inspiration. In Rex’s case, these dreams manifest themselves into a much darker expression of black metal; one that emphasizes complete awareness and the seizing of one’s earthly existence. With that line of thought, you can probably guess that 2015’s Casket Dream Veneration is submersed deeply in the ’90s roots of Norwegian black metal and not the shoegaze stylings of Alcest. Past releases, Songs for the Apocalypse and Spectre, were simple, mid-’90s Darkthrone; with a captivating Culto and Fenriz approach, a delivery as harsh as this coming winter, and a production as raw as my chaffing thighs [No.HR Department]. But 2009’s After Centuries of Silence found Rex opening the Doors of Diversity and experimenting with varying vocals and melody that left mourning in its wake. After a six-year hiatus, Onirik is back with an outing that closely trails its precursor and, at the same time, upps the ante in songwriting and production. Let’s venerate.

“Requiem for a Profane Liberation” triggers this oblong nightmare with immediate black-metal chanting and dissonant chords that eventually transition into unsettling Darkthrone-inspired bends. Just as the song begins to settle in, Dissection-esque melodic atmospheres take hold in a way that are almost hypnotic and oddly soothing. These latter touches of ambiance make a much greater presence on Casket Dream Veneration than on previous releases, especially on tracks like “Invocation and Defiance,” the title track, and closer “Versos de um Ritual.” All build the tension with wispy clean vocals that gently layer the harsh rasps, driving tremolos, and constant kicks. I wouldn’t call it post-black but there are similarities to the approach found on the older Alcest material.

Along with the melodic layers that blanket this coffin like a fresh coat of black varnish, Gonius Rex spreads his wings via intricate guitar leads and a performance that snatches the album from the clutches of typical Norwegian-styled black metal. The opener’s Dissection-like fretboard cruise, the doomy Watain leads toward the end of “Reverent to the Flames,” and the memorable riffage of “Ascension and Descent” break up the monotonous tremolos and predictable songwriting. These flavorings create a landscape that’s difficult to discover upon the first listen but deepens with subsequent spins.

Onirik_2015

With a forty-five minute runtime, there’s a lot to take in. Spending most of its time at a mid-paced speed, Casket relies tremendously on mixing each song up and making them both memorable and cohesive. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Songs like “Invocation and Defiance,” “Ascension and Descent,” and “Versos de um Ritual” do a fine job of incorporating the black with melody, while splattering it with solid performances and memorable guitar work. Unfortunately, “I Am Him But He’s Not Me” doesn’t quite work and the prayer-like, lightning-quick delivery of some of the vocals are awkward. Follow-up, “Disputant by Enlightenment” does little to help and is so similar to its predecessor that it quells replay value.

While I enjoy After Centuries of Silence just a touch more than Casket, this new release trumps all previous outings in the production department with a clarity to the rawness that allows the listener to touch the bass and feel those whirling guitar leads wash over them. That very audible bass performance is credited to hired gun, The Heretic and his contributions on songs like “Ascension and Descent” are quite appreciated. The drums, on the other hand, are overly relaxed and predictable and with a mix that puts them toward the back, they really don’t do much to better the other performances. Overall, Casket Dream Veneration is a rebirth for Rex that apparently has already resulted in a completed follow-up. With this rejuvenation it will be interesting to see where the new era of Onirik will take us.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Websites: onirik.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/Onirik
Releases Worldwide: October 23rd, 2015

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  • Kronos

    Promo pic is hilarious.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Definitely not the best…

    • Warning: music may result in some goatism.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Hey man, making fun of birth malformations is not cool!

      • Go hug a tree, social justice warrior!

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Stop oppresing me, you patriarchal misogynist shitlord!

          • When you came to this site for the 50th time you tacitly renounced any and all objections to shitlord oppression.

          • André Snyde Lopes

            50th time total or 50th time today?

            Ah, who am I kidding, I exceeded both…

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            You are single-handedly keeping this site alive… You should leave.

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Are you so displeased with your own working conditions that you would rather see the site die? You should report to the HR departm… oh.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I won’t get into specifics but let’s just say I’m broken.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Will somebody please think of the kids!

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Language! Dammit…

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I’m reminded of those videos showing racoons with their heads stuck in jars.

      • Kronos

        OH MY ATHEIST GOD. I’m not exaggerating here, I just looked that up and it’s the funniest thing I have ever seen. I almost vomited from laughter. As someone with a deep-seated love for animals it’s even funnier than it is tragic.

  • My friends and I used to play the “Dimmu Borgir” game: make a three word album title out of words that only make sense together with the greatest stretch of imagination (such winners as “Green Elephant Apocalypse” and “Putrid Cyclops Elimination”).
    Seems this band was doing likewise.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      I wanna play!

      Leather nightmare constellation

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Leather Nightmare Constipation

      • sir_c

        Oneiric Butthole Excavation

    • Stefunal

      Savage Caterpillar Destruction.

      • Heifer Madness

        Sounds like a Slugdge song. I like it.

        • Stefunal

          All Shell Perish!

    • SelfIndulgence

      Condemned Asphalt Toaster

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      Zero Ragnarok Bagel

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Some stoner band from Norway should release an album titled “Green Elephant Apocalypse”

    • Clickbait Elitism Implosion

    • Noobhammer

      Anthropomorphic Sweater Mutilation

    • Grymm

      Explode Blasphemous Pikachu