Roel de Haan : Ophe is a one-man outfit from France and this ‘Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude’ is its debut. Ophe plays avant-garde black metal. Somewhere along the line of Dødheimsgard and Blut Aus Nord. Ophe’s main differentiating property is the use of the saxophone. Although the use this instrument is getting quite common. The music is often quite jarring, with many starts and sudden stops. In terms of atmosphere one could describe this horror-esque and eerie, but also epic (opening track ‘Somnum Sempiternum’ for instance) or weird. This latter is definitely due to the saxophone, which usually sounds squeaky and almost screeching. Like some freaky jazz-band. The jarring character of the songs is sometimes a distracting feature. A bit more fluidity in the song-writing (like in again the opening track) would positively affect the overall quality of the album, but ‘Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude’ is at the very least something different and fresh. Perhaps not a timeless masterpiece, but definitely worth checking out for fans of avant-garde black metal.