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Ontborg- Following the Steps of Damnation

ontborg- following the steps of damnation


Northern Italy’s Melodeath machine Ontborg unleash their 2nd full length album, ‘Following the Steps of Damnation,’ and if it does promise damnation, the steps to follow are truly worth it. Featuring members from the likes of Graveworm and Voices of Decay, it is no wonder there is quite a melodic feeling to the alum. Drawing back to the 90s Melodeath/Death Metal days, listeners are greeted by that rather fuzzy sound famous for groups like Entombed or Dismember, but the melodies and vocals are closer to the likes of Hypocrisy or even Arch Enemy. The groove of the riffs are there along with the ferocious snarls for the Death Metal elements, but pace is rather consistent and accessible, never really venturing into explosive territory so that makes this a good listen for those new to the Melodeath genre. There are the heavy fuzz tracks like ‘Purgatory’ with plenty of rhythm and a little less melody- these are more the Dismember influenced tracks- but even here the music is less aggressive as it tries to balance the harshness with the slow to mid paced groove to make up for the lack of melody. Then there are the more Hypocrisy influenced tracks like ‘Steps of Damnation’ where there is tons of melodic riffs and the drums have that solid, easy going to thump. While the track doesn’t really seem to get that ‘aggressive rise’ out of listeners, it still is very enjoyable and quite the head banger.

Tracks like ‘Nightfall’ are more the Arch Enemy (early 2000s era) styled. Similar to the Hypocrisy driven ones, the main focus on this is the vocals which snarl their way through with an anthemic chorus that sticks in the head along with the riffs. Ontborg also shake things up a bit with a bit of acoustic work and pushing their longest track to date with ‘To the North.’ A much more somber and almost Doom laden approach to Melodeath, the vocals are especially ferocious here despite the slow Dismember pace. While the melodies here are not as pounding or upbeat as a track like ‘Echoes of Time,’ the slow crawl pace of melancholy is still very enjoyable for those who like their Metal a bit more on the Insomnium side. Even with the dramatic symphonics to close the song, listeners will probably agree that this is the stand out track for the album. For those looking for the opposite in pace and one of the faster ‘pit starter’ songs of the album, the track ‘I Am the Night’ is another Arch Enemy influenced one but the sheer ferocity of the music is worth the listen despite the lack of melody or the mid to slow paced rhythms. Lyrics are a little repetitive but the chorus again is anthemic and easy to get stuck in the head.

Closing on a heavy, but more Melodeath Hypocrisy driven note on ‘The Tower,’ the band finishes up with another solid album. Compared to their debut, the sound is similar, but they expanded a little and pushed some of the best parts as far as melody lines and the vocals for a great sophomore effort. ‘Following the Steps of Damnation’ has very limited errors and draws from a lot of inspiration of the lates 90s bands but also does it in a way with their own flair so they don’t come off as a complete copycat. Full of riffs that stick in the head and ferocious vocals that sound crisp and discernable in the In Flames and Dark Tranquility manner, this album features very little in the way of clean vocals or progressive moments save for a few acoustic somber sections. This is heavy Melodic Death Metal that anyone who is a fan of the genre should check out.


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