Olhava Reborn

Olhava - Reborn


With the arrival of a new release from Olhava you know what you get. At the same time, you know that as with every single previous release, you will be pleasantly surprised by the directions the music takes: The emotions, the carefully scripted development of the music and how it pans out in all its cinematic and celestial splendor. There is always an eye on the musical theme that builds the sonics, sometimes with effective minor changes in the massive soundscapes. It is almost unfathomable to grasp the immense creativity, passion and imagination that flows from the creators of this awe-inspiring atmospheric black metal music.

The multi-talented Andrey Novozhilov from Trna and Reverb on Repeat founded the Olhava project in 2016. After a while he was joined by the equally talented Timur Yusupov (Trna, Somn, Austen). With Olhava they found yet another creative outlet for their groundbreaking musical visions. And once more they grace the world with music, influenced by mother nature, that is raw, refined, intense, anguished and inspirational to an almost therapeutic degree. Compared to the other albums, this is - as the cover shows - more foreboding, like a warning as the sonics are infused with more gloom and darkness. While the other albums are a celebration of nature, this might be seen as a mellow warning of what man does to nature.

This release contains four tracks lasting one hour and twenty minutes. This allows the musicians to develop the music and unfold a wide panoramic canvas. The opening track is called ”Mirror”. With the crystal-clear synths, it is like it is a continuation of the previous album Frozen Bloom. Around the four-minute mark the signature massive reverbing guitar detonates in cascades, accompanied by blast drums occasionally hitting cymbals while synths hover in the horizon holding the dark melodic theme. The sonics and tempo are changed by the impressive drum work half way through in the track when desperate screams appear deeply immersed in the sonics. Done this way, the voice is an instrument in itself as it adds desperate distress. The musical ebb and flow and the blast drums are back while the synth is more distinct until it all pans out for a while until new cascades of massive sonics are back and the frozen nature begins to thaw.

The second track, ”Reflection, composed by Yusupov, is a pleasant surprise. It is a contemplative composition where the first half is ambient synth music like some of Eno´s work. It is bright and shiny and relaxed before a dark heavy blanket is laid upon the light basis of the sonics like grey thick smoke. The soundscape becomes reminiscent of the electronic works from the Berlin School at the beginning of the seventies. A sound like a cello rises from the dark ambience like hope. Many sound effects fight for your attention in the multiple layers of the sonics. A bouquet of cellos appears and rises up with an elongated floating melody. That sound then disappears for a while to show up once more and seeps in just to be embraced by the bright sonics and joining the voyage through endless layers of ambient buoyant and hovering soundscapes. It slowly fades away into an event horizon.

”Reborn I” has a long crisp ambient opening with dark ambience pressing in from both sides and makes me think of running dirty water from a flood that increases the main stream of clear and crisp water. The drums crush in with frenetic blast-beats on the snare drum, but really using the whole drum set to drive the ambience forward while tormented screams insert themselves in the sonics. The cascades from the reverbing guitar lay the melodic foundation and the drumming is impressively diverse as the cascades from the guitar is thrown at your ear canals. The melodic theme is ever-changing as it soars upwards with some darkness induced in the sonics. Towards the end, an organ rises above the distorted music. As the song slowly fades away it becomes darker and more pulsating.

When ”Reborn II” opens, the frozen nature is reborn as some optimistic sound is floating in, heavy bass is joining the slow-paced drums supporting the torrents from the guitar. A bass plays a melody below the soaring synths and the guitar. The screaming vocals join in as the drums change to blast beats. Around the 9:30 mark the sound changes to only synths with some guitar before it changes to a slower pace with heavy-pounding drumming. The bass sound still lays out a melodic basis when the screams are back. A melodic theme rises out of this and gives solace; there might be hope as nature fights back. Rushing cascades from the guitar bring us to the end where the guitar becomes more prominent in the constantly changing sonics. The drums lay the foundation with diverse and impressive work and it becomes a driving force as the track is brought to the end.

When you know who is behind the band it comes as no surprise that this release shows a vibrant creative force that will have impact on a lot of metal related music. I do not think it is wrong to say that Olhava, and all the other projects the members are a part of, has become a genre in itself within the atmospheric black metal and blackgaze part of heavy music. They are surely inspired by many genres and types of music themselves, but they continue to inspire both listeners and other musicians with their groundbreaking work.