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Owl - "The Last Walk" (CD/EP)

Owl - "The Last Walk" CD/EP cover image

"The Last Walk" track listing:

1. The Last Walk

Reviewed by on December 12, 2014

"The gothic ambiance works well on “The Last Walk.”"

German duo Owl is known for releasing death/doom albums such as the self-titled full-length and follow up “You Are the Moon, I am the Night.” The band - Patrick Schroeder (drums, percussion) and Christian Kolf (everything else) - retains aspects of doom on this EP “The Last Walk,” but there is not a single death metal roar or blast beat. This time the band opts for moodier music on a single, 25-minute-long track.

“The Last Walk” is mired in atmosphere, with Gregorian chanting and chimes marking the beginning ambience. Now defunct doom band Morgian started the track “Solinari” in a similar fashion. Clean guitar layered on top of feedback instills foreboding movement and the production here results in dreamy, distant sounds. The guitar and vocals are much higher in the mix. The guitars ring with heavy distortion while the vocals loom somberly, as Kolf’s vocals have a gothic tinge. Around the 7:45 mark, the music takes an intense turn when Schroeder plays a military march beat. While the vocals are brief throughout the album, especially in the phrasing, here we find some of the most infectious vocalizing on the disc. Kolf repeats “Get born, get ready to die” all while Schroeder’s military drumming intensifies these segments.

“The Last Walk” is tidal in nature, with segments rising and falling in passion. After the “Get Born” vocal lines, the band begins to strip away some of its layers. First it’s the drums. Next they allow the rumbling guitar fade into the background. Then the music finds gentler sound waves in the form of chiming keyboards. This part has an ethereal quality to it that fits with Kolf’s resounding vocals. The guitar picks up again around the 13:30 mark as Kolf gives his most impassioned vocal performance, yelling “stronger.”

The couple of minutes following Kolf yelling “stronger” show the band at its emotional peak. More synth come in to withdraw the tide of emotion, only to rise again in distorted guitar and military drumming near the end. The gothic ambiance works well on “The Last Walk.” There is a sadness that is inherent in the song. The emotions rise and fall, but the tempo stays lumbering. Although the band’s layering adds and subtracts power, the music could use more tempos. The keyboards, ringing guitars, and even muffled vocals do lend the album a gray ambience that is blissful melancholy.

Highs: The Last Walk is an emotional ride of bleak ambiance.

Lows: The song lacks tempo changes.

Bottom line: Fans of gothic sounds and doom metal should appreciate this album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)