Monday, January 16, 2017

Ols - Ols (2016)

Poland's Ols is a neofolk project that it's female mastermind describes as being influenced by black metal. While I can't exactly give her the benefit of the doubt on that, especially after listening to the disc itself, I can say that the Katatonia and Agalloch covers certainly seem to place it into that category. But what we've got here is a bit more etheric, and it sometimes even sounds a bit jaunty. I'm quite reminded of various pieces from The House In Fata Morgana soundtrack, especially in the first few tunes that play during the novel's opening tale. In fact, one of the cuts entitled “Krew Na Mchu” reminds me almost directly of the music that you hear while playing the game, and makes this record almost a must if you loved the folk interpretations utilized there. Her voice is absolutely hypnotizing, almost making for what feels like a ritualistic sort of sound similar to something from Qntal or possibly even Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance. “Kolysanka” is one such piece where vocalization seems to prove stronger than actual phrases, making what again feels deeply spiritual and inhuman. If the sounds of a woman chanting amidst a sea of folk instrumentations entices you, then you will certainly find something here. It isn't a heavy metal album obviously, and is something that you would probably want to put on later at night to cool off a little before slumber. Thirty-four of the forty minutes on this record consist of original pieces, but the final two tracks on the record are “Unfurl” (Katatonia) which works extremely well as an acapella piece and “Bloodbirds” (Agalloch) which forms a nice closer, but is too short for me to truly recall. That being said, overly impressive and heartfelt neofolk is being utilized here and I do believe that fans of folk, ethereal, darkwave and other genres will find something in it. I don't really hear the frozen chill of black metal here, but it certainly comes off as something intriguing enough to get your hands on. Ols is definitely worth a listen, but just make sure that you're a place of quiet contemplation when you listen to it, as some parts can get a bit deep.

(8 Tracks, 40:00)


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