Pegged as a stoner / doom band, Norway’s Bismarck are so much more than a standard fuzz and distortion act and their second album, Oneiromancer, offers up a succession of surprising excursions into otherworldly realms.
Oneiromancy derives from the Greek όνειροϛ oneiros – meaning dream and μαντεία manteia – meaning prophecy and is a form of divination and a system of dream interpretation that uses dreams to predict the future…..and dreamlike is how best we’d describe the songs found here.
Alternating between blissful, dreamy, fuzzed-out heaviness, clean, atmospheric vibrations and shocking heaviness, this collection interprets Western esotericism via altered states of consciousness and a mystical apocalypse. The results are universally fulfilling, challenging preconception and offering so much more than a standard stoner / doom album could ever achieve!
Opener “Tahaghghogh Resalat” is as misleading as they come, a sleight of hand which misdirects with its shamanic chants, anxious atmosphere and Arabic influence before exploding into a wall of noise, crushing all in its path with sludge meets death metal fervour. The dichotomy between the two styles adds an intensity and grandiose heaviness that’s rarely found in the genre and signals just how important dynamics are when utilised correctly.
This juxtaposition continues throughout as tempos are toyed with and expectations shattered. With stoner, doom, death, sludge, psych and prog metal all contorting, colliding and generally confusing the half-awake brain, Bismarck are one step ahead of us at all times, making Oneiromancer a joy to listen to.
Adventurous and unique, Oneiromancer’s incantations come layered with a multitude of successfully executed ideas; both liberating stoner / doom from its confines and surprising the listener at every unexpected turn. 9/10