A Sojourner Wandering Through The Barren Openness

Ordinul Negru

Every so often an album comes along that makes you reevaluate the elasticity of a […]
February 26, 2022
Ordinul Negru - A Sojourner Wandering Through The Barren Openness album cover

Every so often an album comes along that makes you reevaluate the elasticity of a subgenre. "A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness," the latest EP by Black Metal band ORDINUL NEGRU, is one such album. ORDINUL NEGRU (trans: black order) formed in 2004 and is based in Timisoara, Romania. The foursome is quite prolific with eight full-length albums, seven splits, and three EPs under their belt. "A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness" released November 26, 2021, is a single-track album with a total runtime of 22 minutes. And while one track may seem like a drawback at first blush, on but a single listen it reveals itself as a deeply rich, complex, multi-phased composition that has the mental and spiritual impact of a full-length album. It is simply a stunning piece of art.

The album starts abruptly, seemingly in mid note (and spoiler alert, it ends that way too). It's an eerie, discordant intro that quickly shifts to a galloping tempo showcasing Putrid's impressive skills on both drums and bass. The fact that the entire rhythm section is covered by a single person contributes to the inherent internal consistency. The fact that he also engineered the mix suggests he sure the hell wasn't going to cut himself out! The first four minutes has the viscera of traditional Black Metal-dissonant riffs, aggressive tremolo, furious percussion, harsh vocals. There are some interesting hints of Prog styling here that add intrigue to the mix. At the four-minute mark, a seismic shift occurs: The riffs become more whole, the tempo slows and steadies, and the vocals take on a clean baritone chant. The overall effect is absolutely compelling. The next movement shifts us back to the original motif but layers in haunting clean female vocals. The build from there on out is just gorgeous and intriguing.

My favorite aspect of the album is that there is an almost supernatural fusing of the lyrics (both delivery and meaning) with the music. It is one thing to read the lyrics and a whole other experience to hear them rendered across varied vocal deliveries from harsh guttural to baritone chants to siren callings; from male to female; from visceral to ethereal. The matrimony of the vocal delivery with the musical performances heightens the meaning of the lyrics to a truly profound level-true Black Metal artistry in motion.

Final items: Guest artists include Anca Otescu (female vocals); Irinel "Cosax" Cîrlan (male vocals), and Sol Faur (mandolin). Their performances are all excellent and prove integral to elevating this album from just good to clearly incredible. The recording, mixing, and mastering by Putrid (at Consonance Studios) is also exceptional. And, last but not least, the cover art by Alexandru Das is evocative and thought provoking, perfectly capturing the theme of the album. All in all, "A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness" will haunt and satisfy the listener as they recognize themselves as the sojourner and this weird existence that we call life as the barren openness. Safe travels!

10 / 10









"A Sojourner Wandering Through The Barren Openness" Track-listing:

1. A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness

Ordinul Negru Lineup:

Fulmineos - Guitars, vocals
Putrid - Drums, bass
Urmuz - Guitars, vocals

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