When it comes to discovering new music, it’s easy to be swayed by an album’s artwork. One quick look at the album cover for Ovaryrot’s new album, Non-Flesh Scarring, indicates that listeners are in for one hell of a ride. Also, what the fuck? That’s the immediate thought that sprang to mind when looking at a jumbled assortment of random images thrown together to develop a mentally scarring concoction. Maybe the artistic mess was a portend of the music to come, or perhaps the duo of Brady (bass, guitars, synth, vocals) and Ulf (drums and vocals) felt like messing around.
Moving past the distressing aesthetics, the experimental death grind band boasts about their music being “Audio oddities ripped from an abyss of pain.” There are no surprises here, as the entire album is full of discordant noises that sound likes the gates of hell opening and beckoning your worthless soul. At the same time, the blast beats and ferociously quick songs inflict the same agony akin to being beaten to a pulp. That’s not a slight on the record, but rather the best way to describe how Ovaryrot immerses listeners into their messed-up world of pain and purgatory. Kicking off the album is the track “Incessantly,” launching with sounds reminiscent of a death knell ringing in the apocalypse before the death grinding commences.
The hauntingly evil experimental sounds appear throughout the album, acting as interludes to give listeners a brief reprieve before brutally assaulting them with relentless blast beats repeatedly. However, don’t let the “experimental” label fool you at all. Hidden beneath the waves of discordant sounds is straight-up grindcore with a death metal twist. With most tracks clocking in at under three and a half minutes, the distorted, murky album produced from the gates of hell finishes as soon as it started. As with typical grindcore albums, the low-fi production method employed on this album enhances the listening experience.
As someone that considers himself an open-minded metalhead, I must confess that I’ve never been particularly enamored with the grindcore genre. That said, the meshed sound of pain, despair, and nihilism are somewhat cohesive on this album, showing a more progressive range that the standard grindcore album. The visceral screams paint an image of being pulled down to the ninth gate of hell while simultaneously being ripped apart by demons. A few songs don’t follow the basic formula on the album, however, such as “Hollow Vessels.” The track is pretty mellow until the 1:23 mark when the band’s guttural screams of pain (or pleasure?) make an appearance once again before ending with cryptic synthesizer sounds.
Bringing the album to an end is “Scarred,” both the longest and most diverse track on the record. It’s on this song where the musicianship shines quite a bit, as the 1:30 of the song incorporates a haunting melody, reminiscent of doom and sludge metal. The blending of different genres is on hand, as the band vacillates between more drawn out melodies and furious grindcore. The spoken word conclusion brings finality to an album that leaves you thinking “what the fuck did I just listen to” and contemplating your music choices in life.
Despite being a rather short record, the songs do get repetitive and tiresome after a bit, but you find yourself determined to listen to the entire album. If you’re into the happy-go-lucky power metal songs about drinking beer and fighting dragons, you’re going to be disappointed with this album. However, if you’re in the mood for a cacophony of guttural screams, demonic blast beats, haunting melodies, and straight-up creepy interludes, then this might be worth a listen. Hell, it might just open you up to a whole new genre of craziness.
Written by Jonathan Berthold
*edited by Danielle Kenedy