Among the most interesting events in death metal occurred in the first weeks of 2019 we can for sure mention the release of Living Tomb, which is the promising debut album from the American death metal band Ossuarium. This quartet from Oregon arrived to their first LP after the publication in 2018 of a split album with Drakhkar, in which we could already appreciate remarkable instrumental skills and also a style of death metal that, although being strongly anchored to the tradition, incorporates many interesting external influences. One of the most evident is a persistent component of doom that goes very well with the obscure mood of the album.
The songs of Living Tomb are absolutely heavy, and gloomy. The profound and dense sound of the bass and the rhythm guitar contribute a lot to the creation of such kind of shadowy atmosphere and, as a side effect, we enjoy beautiful contrasts on every time the lead guitar emerges from the mud of distortions. This specific aspect reminds me of the early works from Obituary (The End Complete, in particular), even if the main references for Ossuarium’s style should be find somewhere else.
If I should indicate an area of improvement for the band, I would say the riffing. With the skills and the inventiveness that these guys have already shown so far (there are really many intriguing and original ideas in the songs of the LP) I would have expected a greater emotional impact, something that you begin to feel only after a certain number repeated listens. In this respect, Living Tomb seems to have the potential to be an extremely longeve album: eery time I come back to it I discover something new, and I also feel more connected to the songs.
In summary, Living Tomb is maybe one of the best debuts in metal that I heard so far in 2019, and Ossarium enters straight into the list of the bands to be monitored carefully.
My rating for the album is 7.5/10. Highlights: Writhing in Emptiness, Blaze of Bodies, and the closing track End of Life Dreams and Vision Pt2.