Ontborg remains as one of those newly-formed death metal acts that encapsulates many of the tropes and formulas of a certain style (in this case of the melodic variety) in their music to seemingly make a callback to the glory days of the genre or make it their own. Formed just a couple of years ago in Italy, this unsigned four-piece band of melodic misfits is now releasing its debut album. Time to check it out and see what Ontborg has got in store for us today.
Serving as the artists' first full-length and apparently release ever, Within The Depths Of Oblivion was unveiled digitally and on CD format by the band itself in late May of 2019. The sprawling new album contains nearly 50 minutes of melodeath content packed into ten tracks of soothing, yet crushing vibes. Within The Depths Of Oblivion was also mixed and mastered by Lukas Flarer, who has worked with Graveworm in the past.
Really, the best way to describe this album is that it's an amalgamation of a lot of the oldschool Swedish melodeath records that we know and love...all put together element-wise and given a bit better production quality. Not to say that this album doesn't make a name for itself, but that's the initial feeling I got from listening to Ontborg's new album. Throughout the album, you've got a lot of tremolos, background melodies akin to stuff like Immortal or Enslaved, occasionally blackened-death vocals, blast beats and a ton more. Sure, it's got a lot of familiar aspects that you've heard plenty times if you keep up with the Scandinavian death scene, but the focus here is on how well it's executed.
As stated before, some tracks like 'Snow of Lethe', which is a more fleshed out and drawn out song, have kind of a blackened aspect while others like the opening song and many of the other early tracks have an oldschool death metal or overall melodeath feel to them. 'This Time' is another decent song that has great buildup and Gothenburg-styled riffs and 'Entwined in Darkness' has a catchy echo type opening. Some songs I didn't care for were the self-titled song (track 2), which sounded a bit too typical for the genre and for my liking; as well as 'Die To Be Alive', which I thought could've had more to it and fell short of expectations. But in all, this one's got a lot more going for it in terms of its pros rather than its faults.
From a technical and musician's standpoint, Ontborg's debut is an interesting one that serves as both an opener to a potentially worthwhile melodeath career as well as a tribute to many death metal albums of the past. Despite some slight hindrances in the area of innovation, Within The Depths Of Oblivion really did a solid job of reminding me why I enjoy the melodic death metal genre and all of its tropes. It's relentless, though not too heavy, and has a catchy tone throughout.
Fave Tracks: 'Living is a Torture', 'This Time', 'Snow of Lethe'
For Fans Of: Dark Tranquility, Dark Lunacy, general melodeath and some blackened music
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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