Chewed by the teeth of Bythós. — From within the chapel an acrid stench pours in wildly hissing gusts of air, filling desiccated lungs that’ve long ached to be relieved of their purpose and possession. Piled in with the drying bones of countless unearthed graves, hungrily degreased of their waxen rot by fanatics, is a rack of curse rigor’d organs howl with hollow flapping, agonized wailing as they wait to be baptized in brown sulfuric slurry. The cult of the nameless zealous emerge dizzied from their craft, stained hands and frothing eyes having enough of the piercing eyes of death leering within the eyes of every skull they’d picked clean. Budapest, Hungary-based death metal quartet Os are not so perturbed as they stare knowingly into this muttering netherworld of eye-blacking oceans and ancient gore on their sophomore full-length album ‘Tehom‘, an homage to emptiness beyond death and the will of the abyss to claim all. In more practical terms, a low-fidelity arcane death metal recording that drones on with unclear purpose beyond total possession.
Os formed in 2014, taking a few years to prepare a rehearsal quality demo (‘Demo MMXVII‘, 2017) with fairly clear render and plenty of brutal, dead-eyed riffs. Its sound was simple yet effective, a good way to describe their entire discography thus far, with fairly obvious influences primarily conveyed through one guitar, making for a truly primitive (but not the “caveman” trend) death metal tape. When I suggest the rhythms were basic I suppose that’d indicate circa ~’90 underground USDM rhythms with a fair amount of variety and a martial aggression, something akin to earliest Incantation but hypnotic in movement. They’d come up with more than a simple pile of riffs up front, already proficient and arriving with a specific and well honed feeling up front, this’d shown a bit more clearly on their debut EP (‘Prehuman Death Magic‘, 2020) which’d revealed their brash hypnosis to a greater degree, creating a more characterized late 80’s/early 90’s death metal push. The limits of their sound strayed heavily into doom and even some speedier punkish influences in decent enough representation of what to expect would be next with their debut LP via Morbid Chapel (‘Stationes Viae Mortis‘, 2020) but it was admittedly the most notable point of change in their discography to date. Doubly long pieces were suddenly their thing as Os leaned into 7-10 minute pieces for their four part death/doom metal debut, a fantastic way of “making good” on the promise of their debuts that’d set expectations high for what ‘Tehom‘ might present.
‘Tehom‘ doesn’t ease up on the formula established, iterating with four more reasonably long and involved primitive death metal pieces which are designed around a cavernous anti-production value and a cold, brutal-as-ever focus on rhythm guitar antics. What’ll stand out up front is arguably the modest yet appreciably anti-populist production values, which I’d say hum at a brutal death circa ’95 demo-level production sound. The drum capture is slightly hollow, corpse-heavy yet moderate in distance with the crashes bleeding through best, the vocals are centered and spreading forth from a position right in front of the drum kit, and the guitars fill the space from the rafters down to the shoulders of the performers as they effectively oppress alongside the claustrophobic accost of the vocalist. This should definitely check a few boxes for folks who appreciate the grey area between earliest bestial death metal, deathgrind, and bands who’d taken the ‘Severed Survival‘ ideal to darker, mustier places. Groove dominates most of the rhythm guitar work this time around with less nods given to death/doom metal overall as we reach for opener “Gaze” and Side B‘s “Inhale”, yet we’re not getting hardcore influenced shite so much as a bit more of the faster-to-mid paced ventures, where I’d say the band are at their best hanging on a few big riffs for effect.
“Submerge” is the song to convince and impress, if at all, as its storming pace and simple grooves lend a sort of early Grave Miasma feeling to some sections. The bestial yet mid-paced sense of movement they’ve put into this song otherwise serves to compound their own personal style which echoes through their demo tapes ’til now in clearest hindsight, moreso than the previous album which’d been slightly more sophisticated in its rhythmic language. It’ll have to be the best example of how Os built appeal in my mind, wherein I’d initially appreciated the buried and unfeeling horror of their sound before getting lost in the moderate waves of high-morbidity aggression that ebb on in droning hypnosis as the record slowly burns. “Dissolve” is probably the best piece on the record, the least interrupted of its stream of morbid and barreling death worship and it comes with the highest rate of riffs per my own inspection. As the name of the piece indicates the record more-or-less fades as the song does, dying at a point of unnatural agony and the abysm experienced beyond is indicated by some mildly harsh noise in the outro.
If there is a deeper statement within ‘Tehom‘ it is yours to parse through lyric sheets and deeper staring at the cover artwork as I’d spent the duration of my time with Os‘ second full-length enjoying (rather than analyzing) the unfiltered and oppressive dread it steadily streams forth. If you find pure, unadulterated underground death metal dumped from a bloody truck bed into a black mold-lined garage to your tastes then you’ll likely enjoy this one as much as I did. Won’t blow your head off with riffs, but each one will count, won’t demand your attention unless naturally inclined, but will reward within each engagement. A moderately high recommendation.
|LABEL(S):||Iron Bonehead Productions|
|RELEASE DATE:||November 4th, 2022|
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