Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Monumental Journey

Ordinance (2014) Relinquishment. Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions. 65 min. 

Praying for the days to end
The ages to lay to rest
A journey monumental in
Tears, burden and pain
The heavens to collide
And the earth to form its grave
Epochs of glory
Aeons of might
Detrimented by time
- Peregrination unto the Inevitable

Through years and miles innumerable. Once you push 'play', it is rather easy task to recognize the fact that these Finnish full-lenght debutants most likely didn't stumble upon black metal just yesterday; the sense of acquired-through-practice mastery simply oozes forth, distinctly and convincingly. Accordingly, it is not so surprising that Relinquishment goes far beyond your average black metal debut, in terms of both content and style. 

Vague figures, contourless shapes. The grand dance of malignant shadows is initiated with a sombre and ominous Relinquished, which is followed by a more truculent track, The Shadowcast. Thereafter the dynamic interplay of forces beyond the ordered universe goes on until the whole affair is wrapped up by feeding the putrid remains to god - and offering the soul to Satan. Hence, the circle is completed. 

There are Mysteriis here - of Satan and other sinister beings - and I am pretty sure that these fellows have skulked, every now and then at least, in the Forests of Witchery. There might even be a gentle tint of good ol' Sweden here. You know, before the current superstitious craze with ghosts and other such hoi polloi nonsense Swedes were pretty fucking badass - they were decorating trees with dead nazarenes while singing hymns to their blood-loving gods of the old. Well, not much allegiance to those times exists in the world of today. Sadly. 

To drag this down to a more earthly level, what I find very appealing in this debut offering of Ordinance is the distinctly nineties feeling all over the whole work; the songcraft, the melodies, the acoustic guitars, the general atmosphere, and so on. Even though Relinquishment is very melodic album when compared to those of the 'regression is progression' commandos, the general atmosphere always stays in the dark and ominous side.

Motley shapes of pallid grey. There are mysteries here, but there are flaws also. In fact, there are two major ones. 

First of all, the sound policy most certainly does not do justice to a fine songcraft of Ordinance. They would have needed more firepower, more edge, and more punch. With these homespun, organic sounds they are like a mighty thousand-headed army equipped with nothing but a stack of wooden swords. They may cause their enemies a respectable amount of bruises, but most likely they are not going make it to victory. 

Secondly, the vocals have a distinct lack of power and ferocity. While Relinquishment was spinning in my player, one thought rose over and over again into my mind - Spit it out! See, they have lots of good vocal arrangements and they even have experimented with vocals in a rather intriguing way - including an Attilaesque touch in Ascending unto the Unknown - but most of the time vocals come out as pretty lukewarm and half-hearted. Perhaps that is the way they wanted to have it - a disconsolate message should be delivered with the right tone? - but personally I would opt for a more savage approach.       

Surefootedly I lift up to step forth ahead. Well, let's hope that they will, actually, live up to their own words. In any event, Relinquishment is a fine offering for discriminating connoisseurs of ominous sounds and somber vistas.

Ordinance at Encyclopedia Metallum: here.    
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions: here. 

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