Officium Triste – Mors Viri

We had left Officium Triste a few months ago grappling with Immersed, a split album shared with Germany’s Ophis, which had once again exhibited the historic Dutch band’s fidelity to the most orthodox death doom. Mors Viri fully confirms the above, but what strikes one favorably is the high quality of the proposal, a preponderant aspect in a context where there is objectively little room to invent something. Pim Blankenstein’s band has never had the ambition to rewrite the history of music or the single genre, the only tangible goal has always been to compose melancholic, engaging songs that adequately represent that cathartic pain that is the ultimate goal of doom: this has been enough and advanced to make Officium Triste one of the most beloved European realities by fans of the genre, and patience if sometimes certain “avant-garde” critics have been ungenerous towards them. Mors Viri should make even the most skeptical reconsider, showing a band in the midst of its maturity and able to unleash three good quarters of an hour of music free of sags, which exhibits the best in the opening and closing of the work: in fact, both Your Fall From Grace and Like Atlas should be counted rightfully among the best songs ever composed by the Rotterdam doomsters. Not that everything in between is negligible: Burning All Boats And Bridges is notable for a finale with mournful funeral cadences; To The Gallows unfolds on the traces of My Charcoal Heart, one of our band’s historical songs, with which it has in common the effective use of clean vocals; Your Heaven, My Underworld is the only episode that goes beyond, at least in part, the usual compositional canvas, thanks to melodies that are certainly more immediate and a mood that is not too dark, if compared to the rest of the album. The Wounded And The Dying, on the contrary, although still a more dynamic and rhythmic song in some of its parts, fits into the typical stylistic canons of the Dutch band, while One With The Sea is the unfailing song that leverages the emotional aspect, combining recitative with a tenuous piano carpet. The melancholic notes of Like Atlas close in an exemplary manner a truly unassailable work; after all, from Officium Triste they constitute the hard core of death doom and demonstrate how consistency, competence and genuine passion for the proposed genre are, always and in any case, synonymous with quality.

2013 – Hammerheart Records