Oyaarss – Zemdega

Could have sworn we reviewed Oyaarss' last release, but apparently it was too old for our little two-year rule when it came in.  Well, since we didn't, here's a quick summary and introductory statement for his newest album, Zemdega, which we can, in fact, review.  So that last one, spectacular, an incredible mix of ambient with hard-hitting beats and some of the most lull-inducing music we've ever encountered.  It didn't just get into your brain and turn you into a miserable, slobbering mass, it went into your soul and rearranged your sense of beat and structure to turn you into a miserable, slobbering, spiritual mess.  So here we came in with very, very high expectations.  The title of the album itself is apparently a word from Latvian that means "something burning under the ground," apparently also including in that a "hidden marsh or forest fire," and this was used as the overarching theme for the tracks therein.  So, think of it almost like Centralia turned into music (be sure to click that link if that name doesn't ring a bell).  If you're a Silent Hill fan, then you know what that's about, and you're already getting excited.  All of that turned into music?  Sign me up, flay me alive and burn me, cover me in barbed wire and let me choke on charcoal.  If that sounds like something you'd say, then keep reading.  If not, go away, this is the kind of electronic for the depraved.

  

Depraved you say?  We do, and you'll see why when this one begins.  Zemdega hits, and it hits very hard.  All life is destroyed in its fiery wake.  If your speakers weren't a complete splurge and fill the entire trunk of your car, you might not want to turn this one up too loud.  But, if you have to listen to it that way with teeny, weeny, inarticulate speakers, you are merely a fledgling, child.  Oyaarss has taken a different direction with this one, and that in itself made it an enjoyable listen, because we don't like to expect anything, other than greatness.  In his last release, the direction tended to be more atmospheric, though his usage of beat-oriented misanthropy made sure it never stayed peaceful.  Here, you get this same sense of decay, this feeling of life falling to pieces, of nature consuming the waste we leave behind as our species sinks into nothing, ironically developed through sound that is purely technological.  This time, however, it comes with some of that and a more heavy dosage of 'the drop' that will tear the most low-level of speakers to shreds.

 

When Oyaarss begins to scream in the opener, you know this is not your typical electronica (insert any genre you choose).  There's experience behind those lungs, an evocation of deep, inner turmoil expressed through sound.  Zemdega, though, does not simply rely on powerhouse bass action, there's also a huge focus on electronic soundscapes of varying types, everything from chaotic, dying computers to static being used to create tempo.  What tempo there is, of course.  If there could be any minor complaints to make about this release, the first would be the sheer lack of structural consistency.  At times Oyaarss will hit a sick groove and trust us, you'll want it to continue, but then he has a tendency to break this kind of drive and hit into more chaotic patterns, and it may be due to simply wanting to avoid being too consistent or expected, but at times this can actually hurt his activity in Zemdega.  In addition, there tends to be more of a focus on the heaviness earlier in the album, with some more experimentation coming later, but luckily Oyaarss keeps his thematic approach uniform, which ends up helping these minor issues by the end.  Lots of power to be had here, especially the first few tracks, so be a man/woman and go buy some real speakers before you start the spin.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Oyaarss – Zemdega
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4.5 / 5