Hello there! So yesterday as I was writing about the upcoming Norna record, I was struck by a certain name sounding familiar.
The drummer and one guitarist also work together in Swiss trio Ølten, and I quickly realized that band’s first and second full-length releases had already been on my to-do list of stuff I’ve especially enjoyed and intended to write about.
The first of these will soon be approaching its seventh birthday, while the other came out a little over three years ago, so it seems well a bit overdue for us to revisit these, don’t you think?
Ølten – Mode (Hummus Records, 06 April 2015)
Ølten – Ambiance (Hummus Records, 02 November 2018)
If you’ve listened to any of the available songs by Norna or read the words I wrote yesterday, it should come as no surprise that this Ølten material also has a HUGE sound. Thunderous drums, layers of heavy-ass guitars — especially culminating in the final song on 2015 release Mode (“Güdel”), which features animalistic chugging riffs distorted to hell and back; another high point for devastatingly crushing riffs is “Klark” from Ambiance.
With very, very few exceptions, the songs on both of these albums are almost exclusively instrumental — a little bit of distraught, gruff hollering may make an appearance once or twice, but that’s about it. Otherwise, the instruments do all the talking, conveying a dismal mood; the earlier release is tilted perhaps a bit farther toward the sludge end of the spectrum, with bits of atmospherics and post-hardcore/post-metal enhancing the vibe, whereas the follow-up is aptly named as it seems to lean slightly more in the other direction, but still with plenty of heaviness and sludge along the way. (In fact, that record even has a song titled “Sludge”!)
Both releases are name-your-price downloads available via the Bandcamp players below.
Physical versions may be found here (Mode, CD/vinyl – US), here (Ambiance, CD/vinyl – US), or here (both, CD/vinyl – Switzerland).
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