PICK OF THE WEEK: Ovakner’s first EP ‘Ar/Lume’ expands reach with cassette release, added tracks

This has been a prime time for social unrest and expressing rage and frustration. We are seeing that play out in the United States, and around the world, as people are battling their problems, normally inflicted by those above us who stir the pot. In those times, it’s good to have a creative outlet to release your frustrations, and having music that can act as a means for your bloodletting can be the perfect thing for you. It sure has been for me.

Spanish band Ovakner didn’t necessarily position their music to go along with the current events and the anxiety and pain that go along with it. Their focus is on paganism and urban destruction, so it’s not totally off the mark. It’s more their sound and their crusty death metal that lands dangerous blows and causing the ground beneath you to quake where it can align with what you might be feeling every day. This three-headed creature—vocalist/guitarist Rober, bassist Lois, and drummer Alberto—originally put this music out their debut EP “Ar/Lume” earlier in the year in CD form, but now Eihwaz Recordings is following up with a cassette version with two extra songs, one a pretty killer cover track. This is a really strong, fun listen, and it should give you plenty of room to burn off all of your negative energy.

“Ar” kicks off the record with a gust of wind before the song grinds open, and Rober’s nasty growls make their way into the mix. The band hits a thrashy boil before guitars begin to unload the heat, and even some melody is worked in for good measure. Rober’s voice takes on robotic effects, then the song re-ignites, vicious howls tear into flesh, and the song comes to a rumbling end. “Inexpungable” blisters from the start, as Rober’s howls get vicious and scathing, and the band takes things to new heights of heaviness. Doom bells clang as the song goes cold for a stretch. But then the terror is renewed, and brutality is spread to every corner. A cover of Eat My Fuk’s “Destroy the Factory” is one of the new cuts on here, and it’s a fun, punk-filled ride given a death metal beating. There are gang shouts over the spirited chorus, and the track burns out with great power and enthusiasm.

“Urco” is a new original, and it’s utter demolition right away. The vocals clobber, and the playing is both massively heavily but also strangely infectious. Humid notes hang over the song, and the band pounds you into oblivion, and later on, the pace calms just a bit before heading into sludgy terrain. Rober speaks ominously over the chaos, which fades out into the distance. “Lume” unleashes D-beat madness and crazy, yelped screams, while the band applies more of a punk/hardcore vibe. A strong, blazing solo causes you to shield your eyes, while the back end is awash in blasts and shrapnel. “Portalen” is a serene instrumental closer, as acoustics are strummed and the main melody line feels folk-influenced, but in a European manner. The track is earthy and solemn, a total change-up from the car-crash destruction that preceded it.

Ovakner’s first assault is a channeled, smothering one, as this great EP “Ar/Lume” will attest. This is an unexpected, yet totally welcome addition by Eihwaz, proving their metallic palate is wide and varied. This album will leave bruises and welts, though you’ll probably leave feeling that the punishment you endured was well worth it.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ovakner/

To buy the album, go here: http://shop.eihwazrecordings.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://eihwazrecordings.com/

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