Officium Triste / Lapsus Dei – Broken Memories

This split album delivers us some excellent tracks by two entities operating in the melodic death doom sphere active since the last century, Chile’s Lapsus Dei and the Dutch Officium Triste. And it is now needless to remark how preponderant the Chilean scene is in the doom sphere in South America, and the band led by Rodrigo Poblete is one of the longest-lived in that sphere, although its output in some 20 years of activity is limited to three full lengths, as well as a few releases of lesser length. Certainly the whirlwind of musicians who have come and gone over the years to accompany the leader has not been conducive to stability and thus greater productivity, the fact remains that the three tracks that are presented on this split album show us an inspired band capable of delivering the genre in its best guise. The melodic afflatus that pervades a track like Human harkens back to the best Swallow The Sun, although Lapsus Dei‘s greater seniority of service banishes any suspicion of excessive derivativeness, and the same goes for the even more romantic Sleepless. More nervous at times is The Feeling Remains, although it is softened not a little by the use of clean vocals. Officium Triste certainly need no introduction, although their last work Mors Viri dates back to 2013. During this period vocalist Pim Blankenstein has certainly not been idle, collaborating on several occasions with Daniel Neagoe’s Clouds, and probably this may have induced him to exhibit the persuasive and melodic vocal approach of The Weight of the World, a cover of an Editors song also released as a single in 2017 and a decidedly evocative episode, although not so canonical if we take as a reference the genre proposed by the Dutch band. In fact, with the next two tracks, Crossroads of Souls and Pathway (of Broken Glass), recorded live (although it would not seem so) in Malta in 2014, we return to Pim’s fierce growl and to a sound that bears well the mark of Officium Triste, as always capable of lending drama and melancholy to their sound at such junctures. While waiting for the next and desirable full lengths from these two remarkable realities of melodic death doom, this split album is definitely a must-have for those who love not only the genre but also this particular format.

2018 – Australis Records