Let me put the rest of this review in context. The day I discovered post-metal was the day I was told to listen to Isis' seminal album Oceanic. For an hour I could do nothing but sit still and listen in awe to such beauty. It started my long-standing interest in the genre, though to this day no album has made quite a strong an impact on me as that one.
So when I tell you that Omega Massif's album Karpatia is the second most satisfying album I have ever heard in this genre, don't take that as an insult. It has the unfortunate necessity of being compared to an experience that in all likelihood can literally not be paralleled. But nonetheless, I am placing this album up alongside what is universally considered to be a masterpiece record, and with good reason: this album is just that well done.
My thoughts for this album can be summed up in one phrase: this is what post-metal is supposed to sound like. Karpatia sounds about as close to the Platonic Form of the ideal post-metal album that can exist. It's unapologetically sprawling in its scope, vast in its use of dynamics, emotionally cathartic without growing stale, repetitive while still incorporating a healthy amount of variety, abruptly shifts tempo without being jarring, and extremely difficult to describe without using compounded run-on sentences. It starts out with huge tribal, ambient influences, then runs the gamut through gothic metal, droning, doom, and even noise rock before it finishes. It hints at Boris, Dirge, and even Rapoon. And never once does it compromise the quality of its music.
Ladies, gentlemen, and those of you using pronouns that make it difficult to fall under either of those two categories, this album is beautiful.
"Im Karst", the only track of medium-length on the album, is also somehow a clear highlight in an album full of already standout tracks. It starts off with crashing waves of doom metal before evolving into a steady post-metal track, building ever so slowly and reluctantly. But once it finally gets where it's going, it gets some of the best riffs and melodies on the entire album. The shorter tracks are also fantastic tracks in their own right, rather than being short diversions--"Wölfe" is a furious thrash-metal piece, and the title track is an amazing fusion of doom and ambient gothic metal.
That's not to say the epic tracks are any less amazing, carrying the bulk of the album themselves. Each one of them swells inexorably and waxes from nothing to an immense presence before it ends. "Ursus Octos", for example, is an incredibly melancholic dirge, lumbering on at its languid tempo like a funeral march, and the closer "Steinernes Meer" feels like being leveled by the inexorable march of the entire ocean at once.
It will be an unforgivable injustice if this album doesn't launch Omega Massif into the list of canonical bands in the genre, alongside Neurosis or Cult of Luna. You need to hear Karpatia. I was originally going to qualify that statement, but then I realized, regardless of your tastes, this is an album that needs to be heard. Listen to it
9.5 / 10
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