OvO - Ignoto

29 Sep 2022 - Thorsten

Ambient, Industrial, Black Metal | Artoffact Records | Release date: 23 Sep 2022

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Well, longtracks divided into parts so that they essentially become quasi-classical suites – isn’t that something we rather expect from prog rock than from noise rock? Well, when looking at the idea behind OvO’s new record Ignoto one might think differently – and even more important: it works!

22 years after OvO’s inception and after roughly three dozen releases since then, Stefania Pedretti and Bruno Dorella are back with their second album in a row on Artoffact Records (who also released the KEN mode record a few days ago) and it got eight tracks divided equally into two suites. They are named ”La Morte Muore” (“Death Dies”) and ”Distillati Di Tenebre” (“Distillates of Darkness”) and interestingly both work in very different ways so that Ignoto (“The Unknown”) works as if there is hardly any bridge between both suites.

Both suites are somewhat split between ambient darkness (”La Morte Muore”) and noisey sludge metal (”Distillati di Tenebre”) and both sides are done to perfection, haunting and dangerous. The first one is like an homage to horror movies via an interpretation from Greg Anderson and the way the four tracks take their time is spine-chillingly entrancing. Even when the half drum-kit is picking up speed in the second part it never seems to step up into anything more than mid-tempo but as there is quite a lot of echo on the drums one couldn’t even know for sure. Somehow this not-knowing, this being left in the dark is a perfect metaphor for the title of the record, right? Even if death is dying in these roughly twenty minutes, it never seems to be really dead. And when the marching drum kicks off ”Pt. 3” slightly before the noise lightning strikes and the semi-Gregorian chants are added, one feels even more confused as to why this third part seems somewhat unrelated to the first two. Again – we are left in the super-unknown, and I love it, because I have to make my way through the tracks just like that somewhat immobile figure on the cover with its disproportionate limbs and head. That the last 44 seconds are nothing but a fade-out after Stefania’s last bone-marrow-sucking scream is simply appropriate.

”Distillati di Tenebre” then starts off pure blasting black-metal mania and that structurally is so important because it is a clear demarcation line between both suites. After roughly 2:30 minutes the first part then takes a minute step off the pedal and some of the passages that follow are as punkish as early Black Metal used to be. Its ending is then a little bit like the noise-parts of the first suite and Stefania’s vocals are a bit clearer and a bit more distorted at the same time. Impossible? Just listen to the hoarse and raspy parts at the beginning of the second part of ”Distillati”! The drums are a further difference as they sound a lot like church bells which gives the songs a somewhat Gothic feeling. When “La Morte Muore” was a classical horror movie, then this is like a slow splatter flic.

This is neither the noise-rock nor the sludge-stuff the band is known for but it is clearly OvO – this is proggy madness in black minors, a trip into the most unknown parts of our musical progression. You will be facing black, clean walls and then witness these massive obstacles crumble beneath Stefania’s vocals and Bruno’s drums. Or hear the scratching of long-obliterated fingernails on the other side of the wall even though the living entity the nails belonged to are nothing more than faint memories of the deceased of long-gone days. If you are able to come out alive and know more than I do now – tell me what and where you found it. I for myself am just about to embark on another journey into the unknown trying to find clues how I got out alive. A breath-robbing adventure that no one wants to get involved with but which will not ask for your wish or willingness. The black hole will simply swallow you and you will go along with it into the unknown corners of your mind.

Bone-chilling. Breathtaking. Beguiling. Bizarre.