Immersed is a split featuring two of Europe's leading doom metal bands – namely, the Dutch act Officium Triste and the German act Ophis, each contributing with two fine tracks. The Dutchmen are responsible for the first two tracks while the Germans deliver he two last ones.
Both bands operate within the subgenre of death doom metal, which means that there are similarities in their music, which creates a sense of cohesion throughout the entire release, but they sound different enough that you can hear that they are two different bands with their own takes on the death doom genre, and there is the variation that there should be on a split release. I quite like this unified yet varied character of Immersed which makes it a very interesting listen.
The two Officium Triste tracks 'Repent' and 'Bittersweet Memories', while slow and heavy, are extremely melodic and feature harmonic guitars on top of the heavy beats, accompanied by atmospheric keyboards. This way, there is a certain sense of dark lushness to the texture of the music, which generates a sense of melancholy and depression. True to the death doom style, the vocals consist of drawn out guttural growls, but these are combined with speech which has an almost Tom Warrior-like moaning quality to it. Overall, the two Officium Triste tracks are quite well put together and their sad melodicism has a very compelling quality to it.
Ophis' two contributions, 'Storm of Shards' and 'The Mirthless', come across as being slightly heavier than Officium Triste's compositions, as Ophis rely more on heavy riffs than on slow melodic guitar harmonies. There are some sections with harmonic guitars in Ophis' tracks, but not to the same extent of lushness as with Officium Triste, and Ophis do not make use of keyboards. But their riffs and the heavy and powerful drumbeats work perfectly in creating a compellingly emotional sense of darkness and bleakness. Vocals-wise, Ophis rely mainly on guttural growls, which are slightly more in the brutal department, combined with desperate screams.
Both Ophis and Officium Triste really deliver the goods on this split, and both bands, while using slightly different aesthetics, succeed in expressing the same sense of melancholy and doom-laden desperation. Fans of death doom should definitely see if they can get a hold on this fine split release.
2. Bittersweet Memories
3. Storm of Shards
4. The Mirthless