Originating from Iceland, Ophidian I started way back in 2010, but after a promising beginning they parted to form other projects which would be their focus for the coming years. However, they never forgot about where they started, and have now returned with greater experience to expend upon their seedling start with ‘Desolate’.
Mixing wild math rock riffs and death metal roars, opener ‘Diamonds’ strikes a delicate balancing act between going one way or the other, yet it rides the line heroically with plenty of energy and innovative riffs to pull it off.
Crushing tech metal comes in ‘Storm Aglow’, with chaotic time signatures and brief flitting barrages of rampant riffs that never settle for more than a moment before charging at full speed again. Featuring the masterful guitar work of Simon Thorolfsson and Daníel Máni Konráðsson, the duo manage to cram so much into a short amount of space that it becomes dizzyingly delightful to listen to them work.
Rather than constantly jittering from one section to the next, Ophidian I show that they can add progression in ‘Sequential Descent’. It gets the feet tapping with nice grooves, excellent blasting drops, and even a few bass solos as Þórður Hermannsso displays that he’s just as talented as his counterparts.
Closing out proceedings in this wild ride, ‘Wither On The Vine’ twists and spirals between jazz spontaneity and metalcore drops that hold it from verging to far on the side of the light, reminding us that the darkness is always looming in the background.
It’s hard to think where Ophidian I could go next as they strike a perfect balance between energetic metalcore and blasting death metal throughout ‘Desolate’. With hooks of grooves and constantly shifting riffs, there’s no stone left unturned or avenue unexplored.