Ovid’s Withering – Scryers of the Ibis – Review

Ovid’s Withering are a relatively new Tampa Bay outfit that play “theatrical tech-metal”.

While this label might be wildly ambitious, it’s true in a sense that their sound is not easily classified. ‘Scryers Of The Ibis” is a heavily layered LP that boasts a satisfying concoction of deathcore, djent and a bunch of symphonic elements. It’s difficult to compare these guys to another band, but you could almost describe them as the bastard child of Abigail Williams and an unknown, yet above-average deathcore act.

Newcomers will notice immediately that Scryers of the Ibis is a busy record. Riffs and melodic sequences twist and tangle into each other, creating an aggressive yet dramatic tone from beginning to end. There is a sharp emphasis on dynamism, which is accentuated by the near-constant implementation of symphonic layers that are dropped on top of the myriad riffs and patterns across the tracks. The result is a vigorous and energetic soundscape that never seems to run out of harmonic ideas. This is backed up by some inventive songwriting and more progressive sections littered across the record to keep the sound fresh.

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The production on Scryers of the Ibis is crisp and magically coherent. Ovid’s Withering are within spitting distance of a ‘wall of sound’ approach – this is due to the mix of saturated guitar tones, deep low end and ever-present keyboard effects. On top of this mix is a powerful vocalist, and somehow it all just works. The guitar playing is flashy and there are some cool leads to be found, although there is also an audible bass and room for symphonic lines to take over when appropriate. The drumming is tight and expressive, and the vocals are delivered in a range of highs and lows. There are even a few clean vocal lines slotted into the arrangements, adding yet another dimension to the sound. Even if the djent riffs feel samey after a while, you will not get bored with this band in your ears because there is so much going on in every song.

It’s more than fair to say that Ovid’s Withering boast a unique and exciting sound, but this is only half the fun because you haven’t read the lyrics yet. Yes, this is a deathcore band that has rejected the long-exhausted conventions of aggression for aggression’s sake, opting instead to base their lyrics on the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. The result is just as refreshing as it is effective. Vocalist JJ Polachek evokes the salt of the Aegean Sea on your very lips as he belts out a collection of awesome narratives featuring the likes of Lycaon, Prometheus and more. On top of this, the lyrics are also structured in such a way that compliments the musical arrangements, leaving plenty of room for melodic exploration.

This debut LP indicates that Ovid’s Withering have locked into a particular groove that cements their status as a highly unique band. It presents a very justified challenge those who wrote off deathcore citing stagnancy many years ago. And it might well have succeeded.

9/10

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