“Hardrada” marks Ossiyan’s first release. And off the bat, the artwork is great and hooked me straight away. I love a good concept album so I was excited to give this one a good listen. This is a strange one with its lofty concept and fun use of samples, it is very unlike anything you’ll hear this side of the 14th century.
The London lads have their traditional stoner/doom riffs nailed down. Their random shifts into “indie rock” areas work; and I have no idea why they work so well. The bass riffs is the underpinning and the very fabric of this band’s sounds. So, if you like your doomy bass driven hard rock then this is for you.
Again, the production and song construction is superb. The low end is the stunning standout for me; with a J. Butler’s warm bass thumping throughout the songs while locking in with the heavy kick and floor tom of M. Shankey. This is amazing stuff.
The opener “Hardrada” is a perfect tone setter for how this album needs to be listened to; and underscored a lot of the best of this album: slow, bass driven and menacing. The tone stays the same while the songs bleed in and out of doom and lovely sludgy rock. Great opener.
“Hardrada” feeds into “Parting of the Seas” and I love this one. With a great lower bass riff that is layered with a crunchy guitar riff. Yes, there is so much to enjoy here. The diversion into minimalism is so nice and eerie.
“Not One Step Back” has a great bassline to kick stuff after; Butler slays his parts. And it is nice and groovy until the vocals of A. Wisbey ruins what is a great bassline. Okay, the vocals is the point where this band grinds me down a little. There is a lot of disconnect here; the music is very indie at points but the vocalist is trying to sound like a member of an Amon Amarth cover band. It’s odd; and works at points but the vocals need to adapt. I get the concept but it’s too out there.
“War Weary” is another great track that is bouncy and heavy in equal parts. Has the same positives and negatives as the rest of the album, sadly. Amazing and groovy until the vocals ruin it. The lads are extremely tight and I love the effects from the bass and guitar.
The band as a whole suffer from the vocals of A. Wisbey who just shouts nonsense; this band is better than that. I think he’d make a great backing singer but as their main vocalist he kills them. I think these guys could be great but now they are just good. I love their music, their concept and their ethos but that singer, man, he has to change,
This is a fun album and has some great indie rock fused with hard rock beats that make it worth checking out but has issues. This is far from terrible but it could’ve been unreal!
- Butler – Bass
- Shankey – Drums
- Isaac – Guitars
- Wisbey – Vocals