Saturday 30 May 2020

Bismarck - Oneiromancer (Album Review)

Release date: April 17th 2020. Label: Apollon Records Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Oneiromancer – Tracklisting

1.Tahaghghogh Resalat 04:17
2.Oneiromancer 09:15
3.The Seer 05:39
4.Hara 08:59
5.Khthon 06:48


Torstein Nørstegård Tveiten (vocals)
Anders Vaage (bass),
Eirik Goksøyr (guitar)
Trygve Svarstad (guitar)
Tore Lyngstad (drums)


Oneiromancer is quite a different beast to Bismarck 2018 debut album Urkfraft and you can feel that bold creative change on the opening song Tahaghghogh Resalat. As the song opens with some trippy Middle Eastern chants and chimes which does take some getting used to and it left me wondering how this album would play out compared to their wonderfully heavy debut album.

I do prefer Urkraft to Oneiromancer but this is still a strange and beautiful mix of different heavy styles of Doom, Drone, Psychedelic and Sludge Metal vibes with Bismarck feeling they are on a permanent ACID or LSD Trip which they haven’t returned yet from.

The album soon drifts into Post-Black Metal territory with the stunningly bleak heavy song – Oneiromancer – and it’s a disturbing vision of fast-paced blackened Sludge Metal grooves with the vocals adding a more abstract effect. The Post-Doom sounds do slow the mood down at the right moments with Ambient Textures adding a more grizzled effect.

Bismarck have employed Chris Fielding to help co-produce the album along with bassist Anders Vaage and Leif Herland. All three do a stellar job bringing a much needed bleakness and realness to the overall sound of the album. The album does sound quite spectacular when the heaviest riffs appear on the album with a deeply rich and progressive sound that was perhaps lacking on their previous album.

The album also has James Plotkin helping out with mastering duties with Chris Fielding being involved engineering and mixing duties as well. So Bismarck have pulled out all the stops in the background in bringing their creative vision to life. So top marks on that aspect of the album.

Bismarck continue their heavy and trippy Psychedelic journey on The Seer which is a more straight-forward style of Bleak sounding Doom/Sludge Metal that Bismarck play so well whilst still offering a slightly different sound on the album.

Fourth song – Hara – is a song that is very hard to describe with Bismarck going all over the place creatively speaking on this song but still perhaps offering the best song on the entire album. With the band employing a stunning mix of Post-Black Metal Droned Out Soundscapes to capture the wild mix of Drone, Doom, Sludge Metal and Post-Metal grooves with a Middle-Eastern vibe being hard in the background on the later stages of the song.

The final song – Khthon – is another wonderfully weird creative turn Bismarck have made with a cool sounding 70s Psychedelic Prog/Folk Rock feel that sounds inspired by OPETH. Though, that’s just my own personal view on this song. The band do return to a familiar style of bleak pounding Doom/Sludge Metal that have a despairing and world-weary heaviness to them.

Oneiromancer is a great album from Bismarck and I admire the band’s creative choices in releasing an album that’s quite different to their previous album. Though, like I said earlier in my review, I prefer their debut album to this one but this is still a wonderfully complex and deeply emotional album that still packs a powerful punch where the riffs are concerned.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe