The UK Doom Metal scene is undoubtedly robust and thriving in 2015 and adding to the sheer number of great bands currently plundering and pillaging their Doom-addled wares around the country are London’s Ossiyan.
Hardrada, Ossiyan’s debut album, showcases a band with brains and brawn as they document the story of King Hardrada, the last of the great Viking kings who set his sights on conquering our green and pleasant land some 950 years ago….all set to the scintillating sound of Traditional Doom of course!
Harnessing an anglicized version of the much missed Reverend Bizarre’s more upbeat moments, Hardrada is a triumphant exercise in crushing Doom and obvious intelligence. Taking a few, though not obvious, cues from Witchfinder General’s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal classic Death Penalty, Ossiyan are defiantly British and their hypnotically leaden riffs and coarse vocals pummel the senses while simultaneously stimulating that rarely used grey matter that sits between your ears.
Hardrada expertly reflects the pace of battle, from the adrenalised bursts of distortion-drenched power of “Parting Of The Seas” and “Not One Step Backwards” to heavy-limbed moments of weary grandeur as exemplified by the sprawling and haunting “Hardrada”.
A concept album overflowing with intricate storytelling and consummate musicianship, by the end of Hardrada you’ll be as bruised and breathless as the victors of the mighty battle Ossiyan so expertly bring to life. On this evidence, Ossiyan will go on to conquer all if they can build on this monumental debut.
History lessons were never this interesting when we were at school! 8/10