Ovakner – Ar/Lume

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/Label: Eiwahz Recordings
Distributor/Label URL: http://eihwazrecordings.com/
Released: 2017
Buy Album: https://tupatutupa.bandcamp.com/album/tupa-36-ovakner-ar-lume
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/ovakner/

Band line-up:

Rober – Vocals & Guitar,
Lois – Bass,
Alberto – Drums.

Tracklistings:

1. Ar
2. Inexpugnable
3. Destroy The Factory
4. Urco
5. Lume
6. Portalén

Review:

Apparently, you never get another chance to make a good first impression. It’s a trick in life we all are subject to, but where it concerns the success of bands, it’s ever more stark. Put out a great EP or album as your debut, and you’re well on your way. Don’t, and good luck with the struggle. So what’s a band to do?

“Ar/Lume” represents OVAKNER’s first foray into the metal realm and it makes its mark in a rather fiery fashion. This is old school death metal with touches of crust about the show – think chunky and thoroughly pissed-off riffage filtered through a thick layer of crusty production, and you’ve a pretty good idea of what the Spaniard’s sound is. Despite the crusty exterior, there’s a delectable live-feel to the EP, most notably in the drums. Their clarity is unprecedented and seems to have been recorded with an almost garage mentality.

Opener “Ar” bristles into life with riotous fury, amid a flurry of tremolo riffs and blasting drums, whilst follow-up “Inexpugnable” brings a layer of groove to the fold that can only start fights in the pit. Yet there’s still room to slow it down and grind with dissonance, as both showcase during their latter thirds. As much as the bruising qualities of the bulk of each track makes for a great ride, it’s these sections that burn bright into the mind and intensify the bruising riffs when they return (especially with “Lume”, which essentially wants to brutalise the listener any which way). It’s the latter track where the EP comes to life – simply, a monumental aural wallop to the gut worthy of note.

Rober’s coarse bark adds a world-weary sound that delightfully marries itself to the “screw you” approach the rest of the EP takes. There’s a great deal of hate the courses through this record, and that’s just what you need from death metal isn’t it? Which is why closer “Portalén” seems rather odd – it’s an acoustic piece with a gallop that wouldn’t seem out of place within an IRON MAIDEN track. In fact, a number of the melody lines sound directly influenced by the UK band, but that’s not the biggest issue here. It’s inclusion on an EP, moreover as a closer, seems awfully odd – it would be better placed on an album as an intro or opening passage to a full-blown epic. Think about it: a three-song death metal EP with an acoustic closer? Very odd.

Additionally, the cassette version of the EP includes two extra tracks: a cover of EAT MY FUK’s “Destroy The Factory” and newer piece “Ulco”. The former takes a lurch towards punk that immediately seems at odds with the rest of the EP. The cover is competent, granted, but in being placed in the middle of the EP, it just seems to break the course of “Ar/Lume” – almost a deal-breaker given that there’s minimal time to recover the flow. The latter, however, seems far more suited to the EP: furious death metal with a crispy, crunchy exterior.

For a first toe-dip into the death metal world, OVAKNER’s EP has certainly set the band on their way. It’s an enjoyable romp, with enough variety to keep things interesting and an aurally-pleasing sound – it’s rare to hear a raw, rough-and-ready EP that doesn’t sound like it was recorded on a phone in a garage. It’s not without its faults (the cover would be better suited at the end of the EP as an obvious extra, whilst the closer “Portalén” would be best saved for an intro or use on their first album). Nevertheless, “Ar/Lume” is an ideal start to life in metal for the Spaniards.

Review by Lee Carter
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