Coming from Italy, symphonic death metal pioneers Genus Ordinis Dei have done it again with the release of their second full-length album Great Olden Dynasty via Eclipse Records. These ten tracks combine traditional death metal with bits of symphony and theatricality, and they do so wonderfully.
Opener “The Unleashed” seamlessly meshes ripping guitars with classical strings, pounding drums and a touch of melody. All of this is joined by the particularly impressive vocals of Nick K, which sound a hell of a lot like those of Randy Blythe (Lamb of God). “You Die in Roma” has a majestic feel to it, sounding almost like something you’d hear in a cathedral (at least in the beginning). Heavy on the symphonic elements for a good chunk of the track, it takes almost two minutes for the vocals to kick in. Once they do, the track goes into overdrive and becomes incredibly heavy.
The vocals take on a different quality on “Cold Water,” sounding almost like Nathan Explosion (Dethklok) for parts of the track. This one goes back and forth between heavy guitars and serene piano, delivering an incredible experience that’s difficult to put into words. “The Flemish Obituary” has an organ arrangement in the intro joined by a full angelic chorus before said chorus is all but drowned out by heavy guitar riffs and thundering drums. Growling vocals are joined by calming piano, making this track pretty complex overall.
In fact, this whole album is pretty complex. Take “Salem” for example, which opens with a piano arrangement before throwing down crunching guitar riffs and more growling vocals, and then Lacuna Coil‘s own Cristina Scabbia comes in with guest vocals. There’s a lot going on with this track but the whole thing comes together incredibly well. “ID 13401” and “Halls of Human Delights” are your traditional metal tracks, and with the way Nick K handles his vocals, if I didn’t know any better I’d swear I was listening to Lamb of God. Finisher “Greyhouse” has an acoustic guitar opening met with piano, but that is short lived. Loud, ever-so-slightly melodic riffs take over and are soon joined by familiar guttural growling vocals which get less guttural and less melodic during the chorus.
Great Olden Dynasty is a highly complex and unique album; even without all the symphonic stuff going on, it’s pretty fantastic, but those elements only serve to enhance what is already there and turn it into something that is truly its own. It’s clear that this was a well thought out album that the band put a great deal of care and effort into. Symphonic elements aren’t completely unheard of in metal, but Genus Ordinius Dei add them into their music in a truly unique and interesting way. This album is most certainly worth a buy, and it’s out now, so go get it! Final score: 5 out of 5 axes.
1. The Unleashed
2. You Die In Roma
3. Cold Water
4. The Flemish Obituary
5. Sanctuary Burns
7. ID 13401
8. Halls of Human Delight
9. Salem (feat. Cristina Scabbia)
Nick K – vox & guitars
Tommy Mastermind – guitars & orchestra
Steven F. Olda – bass
Richard Meiz – drums
Written by Mitch Ellerbrock for Bloodrock Media on December 15, 2017