One Tail, One Head - “Worlds Open, Worlds Collide” [Album Review]

- Nov 03, 2018 at 05:00PM
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Rating: 8 out of 10
More than a decade of recording and touring, and it all culminates in this: Worlds Open, Worlds Collide by Norway’s One Tail, One Head represents the band’s first and last full-length release. As a debut album, it’s an impressive and varied piece of music, but as a swansong, it’s a touch anticlimactic; just as you start enjoying the avant-garde, borderline progressive arrangements, a terrible melancholy settles in and you realise that this is all you’re going to get (hit this link for more info why). Ten tracks of dynamic, shifting splendour carried on deep gothic undercurrents that run the black metal gamut from bleakest depression through soaring atmospherics, straight on to riveting, searing ferocity, thrashy black-n-roll riffing and back again.

Once the stunning blow of the planned curtailment of the band’s existence has been absorbed, however, it becomes easier to fully immerse yourself in the Worlds Open, Worlds Collide experience. And it’s definitely an experience worth having. The aforementioned bass presence is the constant thread that ties everything together, linking disparate influences effortlessly: classic Fields of the Nephilim-esque, reverb-rich western apocalyptica (especially on “Sordid Sanctitude” and “Arrival, Yet Again”) flows around building, repetitive rhythms reminiscent of Taake or Gaahl’s Wyrd (“Rise in Red” or “Passage”) while sensitive drums complete the ensemble, adding vitriol or balm (“Summon Surreal Surrender” effectively showcases both aspects) as needed.

It’s starting to rain metal again... this is one of several “Stellar Storms”.



The second defining characteristic of the One Tail, One Head sound must be Afgrundsprofet’s [1] vocals; on Worlds Open, Worlds Collide his performance ranges from deep growls to clean chants. While not exactly singing — his barked delivery becomes more percussive than melodic — the textural quality of his voice is a far more varied, layered addition than the one-dimensional approach so many others fall back on. In some ways this mirrors Mayhem’s Attila Csihar; Afgrundsprofet treats his performance as an exhibition more than a mere action, replete with flourishes, reveries, and nuances. “Arrival, Yet Again” best qualifies this with its emotional range that spans anguish, anger, and simmering derision — the background laughter is an especially nice touch.

In the final accounting, One Tail, One Head do not disappoint: Worlds Open, Worlds Collide may be the only full-length the band will release, but they are going out on a high note: a solid disc that keeps the True Norwegian Black Metal flag flying high. One Tail, One Head can, on the strength of this single album, take their places alongside the likes of Darkthrone, Gorgoroth or Satyricon [2] as proud proponents of the genre.

When you awake next, try to “Rise In Red”.



Worlds Open, Worlds Collide Track Listing:

01. Certainly Not
02. Arrival, Yet Again
03. Worlds Open, Worlds Collide
04. Stellar Storms
05. An Utter Lack Of Meaning, Hither To Unbeknownst, Suddenly Revealed
06. Firebirds
07. Sordid Sanctitude
08. Rise in Red
09. Passage
10. Summon Surreal Surrender

Run Time: 46:24
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Record Label: Terratur Possessions

Footnotes:

1. AKA Wraath, in his alternative incarnation as Behexen’s current guitarist and Darvaza’s vocalist.
2. The full list of TNBM bands is a lengthy one; Peter Beste’s (excellent photographic anthology is not only a gorgeously presented, oversized coffee table book, but also a solid primer for anyone interested in the genre.
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