Ofnus – Time Held Me Grey And Dying
by Jools Green
Release date: June 30th (Naturmacht Productions)
Forming recently, in 2021, Welsh Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal outfit Ofnus, are taking the Black Metal scene by storm, I was recently blown away by their live performance supporting Wayfarer at my local venue, winning me over within the first half of the opening track of their set, Burned By the Soul Of The Moon, I was even more surprised to discover afterwards it was only their third live performance, although their line-up does consist of members from familiar bands from the scene; Agrona, Black Pyre, Blind Divide and Democratus, so they bring a wealth of experience with them and at the announcement of a debut studio album, Time Held Me Grey And Dying, I was literally falling over myself with excitement to grab the opportunity to review it.
Time Held Me Grey And Dying is an eight track, fifty-three minute offering that opens with that previously mentioned, monumental, at almost ten minute duration, Burned By The Soul Of The Moon, it’s reflective to open, quickly developing a classic Black Metal, Doom infused plod that emanates a dark ominous aura, I love the subtle but complex underlayer of the drum work, add to that the haunting melody and leadwork that courses over the top and the acidic blackened vocals and complementary deep clean backing choral vocals, all delivered with a fluid ebb and build, altogether making an utterly engaging track filled with rich texture and depth that sounds superb.
Next up, The Endless Grey is a hugely emotive and deceptively powerful piece, a dark and haunting melody forms the core with drum flourishes impacting on the melody, and the icy vocals cutting through, midway those backing vocals make a brief emergence again.
Followed by Fading Dreams, which steps the pace up dramatically, a blackened beast of a track, packed with superb driving riffs and topped with haunting leadwork, the backing vocals adding a huge dose of atmosphere, as does the spoken word element in the latter part of the second half, you also get a dramatic drop away and sudden build before the close which adds further to the dramatic feel.
Grains Of Sand returns to a more Doom paced Black Metal sound, a hauntingly powerful offering that is deceptively intense as well as beautifully bleak and reflective, particularly in the quieter more melodic moments.
After the wistfully haunting instrumental Monody, Exulansis rips forth in a wave of atmospheric splendour, it delivers majestic choral vocals alongside acidic hisses that develop superb protraction in the second half along with some emotively haunting lead work and a driving dark undercurrent coursing beneath from end to end, a devastatingly good track that is as uplifting as it is dark.
Penultimate piece, Echoes continues in a very reflective manner, I love the haunting opening lead work, it’s hugely reflective and emotive and adds to the contrast when the wall of driving riffs and acidic vocals arrive, the sound ebbing and building enthrallingly between the driving riffs and more haunting melodic elements.
Finally, the expansive A Thousand Lifetimes delivers a final dose of haunting, melancholically reflective mid-pace Black Metal, a cleverly understated piece, it’s subtly melodic and engagingly undulating with drum patterns that pop with precision, even the acidic vocals have a very reflective feel to the delivery as well as excellent protraction.
Fans of Saor, Fuath and the like should find this a fascinating listen, so……”Be ready to descend into the deep places of your heart, where the darkness is ineffable and the sorrow unimaginable”… and go give it a listen or better still, buy it here