Vera : Our Survival Depends On Us is not only a collective with an intriguing band name, also the music happens to be impossible to categorize, but it is always captivating and spiritual. About three years ago, their previous album Scouts On The Borderline Between The Physical And Spiritual World spontaneously became one of the most listened to albums of 2015 of mine, while we repeatedly watched the magnificent video clips. Now the five-piece hailing from Salzburg comes up with their fourth album Melting The Ice In The Hearts Of Men and we are at the tiptoe of expectations to find out what this noble title stands for.
This time no compact songs like The Mountains Of My Home or A Sacred Heart, but four mammoth compositions. After intensive rehearsals in the mountains around Salzburg, they were recorded in 2017, while later, in May 2018, they were mixed and mastered by Michael Zech (The Ruins Of Beverast) and Victor Santura (Triptykon, Dark Fortress) at the Woodshed studio. The band is open to every challenge and we can speak of four ceremonies or rituals that soon haunt you. Since people add post before everything these days, I like to come up with the term post Krautrock here, although OSDOU does not sound retro at all. No, this is simply a band sound that goes beyond boundaries and genres.
Galahad opens with conjuring chants, dark sounds and gloomy violin. The only knight of the Round Table who had spiritual purposes during his search for the Holy Grail instead of greed, is honored here with a secure constructed epos. Plucking guitars, the bass joins in, an orgy of guitar soloing bursts out. After five minutes we hear the typical (rather plaintive) vocals of Mucho Kolb in a proclaiming manner. Organ supports the composition, which ends in a ravishing way with the charismatic vocal contribution of Alan Nemtheanga Averill (Primordial). Be sure it sounds amazing! The lyrics of Gold And Silver are inspired by the book Ezekiel from the Old Testament. They have already shot a breath taking video clip for it. Soaring, proclaiming, dark, soon we have shortage of adjectives, but the guitar solos are marvelous. The latter one is played by producer V. Santura. After a while the song turns to introvert passages with tribal drums and repetitive patterns. More powerful vocals pass into an orgy of instrumental highlights. Magnificent! Song Of The Lower Classes happens to be the most political song ever written by OSDOU. It begins with a text of Ernest Charles Jones, an activist for more rights for the workers in the nineteenth century. Nice plucking guitars are intermittent with rigorous outbursts, heavily distorted bliss. Captivating is the repeated line of text in ultimate nihilism: down we go, we are so very low. Fervent guitar solos and chunky riffs pierce you to the very marrow. Later we have a calmer fragment with distant sounds and ritual cadenza. The thoughtful vocals here remind me of The Doors in The End. The male choir is grandiose and gives you a spiritual experience. Finally they cut loose again in wild solos on guitars and keyboards. Breathtaking! Sky Burial is inspired by the ancient funeral ceremonies in Tibet and Persia. This is a song in which OSDOU experiments all over. Hajot comes up with animal sounds out of his keyboards. Together with the ambient foundation it has a feeling of estrangement. Vocals are used as a supplementary instrument, with spiritual scat singing and shamanistic chants. And once again the song has one more outburst: it continues in a nearly smooth rocking tempo. Conclusion: this is not just another band, but a collective that challenges you and totally achieves in leaving us in awe. Adventurous music aficionados have a treasure of enchanting sounds to discover and be led away!