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Owl - Nights in Distortion

Label: Temple of Torturous Records
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10

Owl serve up some fine, stout, dark, guitar-driven Doom on their 2018 release, “Nights in Distortion.” There’s definitely a shadow-laced German feel, but their sound is also internationally informed by the likes of Type O Negative, Peter Murphy/Bauhaus, Mike Oldfield, Trent Reznor, The National, Draconian, Skinny Puppy, Rammstein, Fear Factory, Ministry, etc. - - sans the guyliner. The vocals range from growls to deep bass-baritone to spoken, with occasional interludes of light vocals, over down-tempo, down-tuned guitars, transitioning from power chords to single notes to arpeggios.


Owl do a remarkable job of braiding dark heaviness with the aetherial throughout the six songs on this album. While their lyrical content and general sound hove to existential brooding and dread, I also detect a Cyberpunk touch. Maybe I’m making that up completely. . .maybe I’m drawing that connection on my own, due to similar senses of bleakness between the genre and their sound, but I’ll stand by it. There’s a definite concrete sheen to Owl’s songs, rather than murky, muddy Doom. Less evil, more nihil. More strength, less despair.
While I’ve alluded to some Industrial influences and parallels, I hesitate to lump Owl into that genre; their sound is much too organic. The keys presence is there, but minimal, barely noticeable. The drums sound and feel real, nothing sounds automated or mechanized. Doom is a closer fit, but I also hesitate a little with that classification, because this isn’t what immediately comes to mind, when you think of Doom Metal.
Either way, “Nights in Distortion” is an aptly-named, made-with-care album of six quality Dark Metal songs. The opening track, “We Are Made For Twilight” is a gorgeous, moody transition from drifting atmosphere to heavily distorted trudge. Each of the six pieces display wonderful transitions to and fro from delicate to harsh to powerful to heavy to tranquil, and each is an experience unto itself.

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