Ølten – Mode (2015), Ambiance (2018)

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?


ØltenMode (Hummus Records, 06 April 2015)


ØltenAmbiance (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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One response to “Ølten – Mode (2015), Ambiance (2018)

  1. Pingback: Norna – Star Is Way Way Is Eye; Abraham – Debris de Mondes Perdus (2022) | Valley of Steel

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