Review Summary: Tampa Bay djentlemen bring Royal DeMaria and tuxedos to the party.
I don't pay much attention to tech-metal but for some reason Tampa based outfit Ovid's Withering walked directly into my house without knocking on the door. That's pretty ***ing rude man. They have a three track E.P entitled "The Cloud Gatherer" which can be found on their bandcamp which incidentally is how I stumbled upon them. Musically, they play a modern take on Meshuggah's polyrhythmic sound. Djent I guess is what the kids are calling it. In addition, the band incorporates elements of tech-death, metalcore and symphonic black metal into their sound. Think Meshugga, The Breathing Process, Septicflesh and Vildhjarta having a Sunday morning gangbang and giving birth the next afternoon.
The most pronounced aspect of this band's sound is their liberal use of the keyboards. They sound like they are being used to make their music "more epic". Opinions will vary on the tastefulness of this addition but I personally feel that they enhance the songwriting ability of Ovid's Withering. The Septicflesh influenced orchestral bombast aligns itself with the guitars in perfect harmony. The breakdowns crush boulders, the riffs start and stop abruptly before erupting into off-kilter melodic sequences, the songwriting is engaging and the machine like drumming fluidly merges with the symphonic passages. The second track "Oedipus Complex starts to sound like a Mirrorthrone b-side at the 1.36 mark beginning with a brief neo-classical break and the vocals shifting into higher pitched territory.
The groovy, Meshuggah inspired rhythms and breakdowns make up the bulk of the EP's guitar orientation but at times the guitars experiment with cool melodic parts, a lone solo and harmonies to break up the monotony. The bass has been somewhat drowned out by the heavy synth and guitar work that dominates the recording but its presence can be felt occasionally. Drumming is performed in a precise, mechanical fashion thanks in part to sterile production and a workman like ethic. There are blasting parts, an ample supply doubebass bursts and other techniques that compliment the music's hostile nature. The vocals often alternate between lower pitched grunts and higher pitched growls, adding some diversity while maintaining an aggressive feel. The closing track "The Omen of Lycaon" features some guest vocals from The Absence front-man Jamie, adding a more traditional death metal feel to the vocals.
Is this the most original band in modern metal? No, not even close, but they are pretty good at what they do. I have a good time listening to these three tracks even if they are over-produced... Yeah...the production is really, really polished. It doesn't really alter the music's substance or the aggression too much but it does make the music sound like it was created by robots. I suppose with the emphasis on melodramatic keyboards and epic atmosphere the band decided to do it the Dimmu Borgir way. Either way, it's a small complaint. This isn't for the "Metal Elite"but everyone else that digs aggressive music should dig this.