Black Market Metal Label, 23.02.18
Like missiles armed with nuclear warheads from a clear blue sky, the Swedish black metallers in Ov Shadows appeared out of nothing and gave me one hell of a shell shock earlier this year.
This draft is half a year old, and both The Darkness Between Stars and guilt have kept me company since.
The quartet dropped an EP named Monologues in 2016, the same year as Ov Shadows was founded, but has till now operated under my radar.
The band, however, consists of experienced guys, something we'll come back to.
Gothenburg is traditionally known for entirely different types of metal, but with The Darkness Between Stars, Ov Shadows clearly shows that Stockholm ain't the only city capable off creating intense claustrophobic black metal.
All four members previously used to play in a band named Waning, though I don't know whether that band is considered a precursor to Ov Shadows. Three out of four members have played in Slaughtercult, and three have been involved in Clonaeon. A couple have close relationships with Stykkmord, while one of the guys is part of Obitus. Apparently there is also a link to the band Black Drop Effect, without me being able to verify this.
Ov Shadows reels off melancholic disgust. A link to dsbm is definitely present, but I still hesitate to classify the music as such. Among heavy, disillusioned emptiness, loss, depression and red-hot antagonistic hatred, there is a willpower and vindictiveness that surpasses grief and self-pity. Contrary to what is the case in ordinary dsbm, this mental flame is the main driving force.
The band has come up with a series of raw riffs and dim melodies that are pushed forth with freezing metallic sting - like an icy syringe injecting infected ice-water into the cerebral cortex. This works optimally in coexistence with harsh, chasing drums and sharp vocals, throwing echoes between imaginary walls in an enclosed mind. The sound is crushing and heavy, like a huge, rough concrete wall, covered with broken glass and barbed wire. As in a claustrophobic ravine, the music and the intense, oppressive sound encase the listener with thundering hypnotic reverberation. And I can swear the walls are closing in on each other...
The Darkness Between Stars may lack the most memorable riffs, but the mood, the intensity and the bashing force produce a singular essence of phobia and manic psychosis that utterly bewitches and spellbinds this listener with its lightless nature. Hence the subjectively correct rating. Rating: 6-