Bitter Tears

Olemus - Bitter Tears ©1997 NSM Records
1. Innocent And Wretched
2. Bitter Tears
3. Dreaming
4. Forever Gone
5. Scared For Life
6. Scourge Of Seclution
7. Slave Of Arrogance
8. Bastards
9. Ole - Mus

The first time I played this CD I was immediately impressed by the lush sounding instrumental opening. It contained a doom-symphonic feel. And then singer Robert Bognar opened his mouth with an attempt at dark gothic death singing. Hoo boy. Though I really enjoyed the music on the album, his vocals were such a sore spot. But in subsequent listens I've either gotten to the point where I understand where the vocals belong in the music or I've just let the excellent doom metal take charge.

Olemus runs the musical gamut here, from very Therion-like symphonic doom metal to a very vicious death/black metal hybrid. I must admit that their attempts at goth are somewhat forced, perhaps a major detraction from the album on a whole. "Forever Gone" features a second whiny male vocalist who just doesn't have the cajones to convincingly project a good melody. Meanwhile, "Slave of Arrogance" is a prime example of what this band can do right. There is slashing riffs, death metal vocals along the lines of older Cemetary, aggressive passages as well as a very lush feel throughout. "Bitter Tears" is the kind of song that would fit right in place with the best of symphonic doom like older The Gathering or Theatre of Tragedy. It also features one of those melody lines from the guest female singers that you simply cannot shake from your head. "Bastards" is also quite amusing with its call-and-response vocals along the lines of Exodus - though not musically.

Aside from those cringe pseudo-goth moments and misguided attempts at melody-mixed-with-gutteral-grunting, Olemus is on the right track overall. For those who are into older Tiamat, Theatre of Tragedy or perhaps even Cemetary, Bitter Tears will be a very appealing album rich with very strong musical ability.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/1999

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