Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vinyl Album of the Day is OTESANEK - Final 12"

Vinyl Album of the Day is OTESANEK's final release. I guess its technically maybe self titled, but so is their first album, the one with the rams heads on the cover so this one has a sort of unofficial title of Final 12" as its a 12" record and it was their last release. It was released only on vinyl, in 2009, jointly, by Nancy Jo Records, Otesanek  and Reification of Misery Productions. OTESANEK was a band from Philadelphia that existed in the 00's, but called it quits before the end of the decade. They played a powerful combination of Doom, Death Metal, Drone, Sludge, etc and are one of my favorite "slow", heavy bands.

There were 500 copies pressed, with the first 111 copies including an extra linocut insert stenciled in human blood. It features 2 songs, both of which were recorded by Mick Mullen at Super 8 Studios in April 2007, the same session that their track "Seven Are They" comes from, which was released as part of "Fo(u)r Burials", the 4-way split with LOSS, MOURNFUL CONGREGATION, & ORTHODOX. The tracks were mastered by Prairie Cat Mastering. This 12" album features 2 songs in total, as I mentioned, with one track on each side of the record. Side A is "Resonance of War" and Side B is "Sanguinary".
The amazing cover artwork was done by Pippi Zornoza, who has continued to make killer art and music, so check her stuff out as well if you get the chance. The beautiful artwork is truly stellar and these pictures dont do it the full justice of actually holding the album in your hands and looking at the detail, but this will give you an idea.

"Resonance of War" begins with slow, massive, downtuned slabs of Droning Doom riffs, feedback, and low growls in the background. Its the patented sound of the mighty OTESANEK, slow, menacing, tortured and ominous. About 2 and a half minutes in the drums finally come in, and the corrosive destruction gets even uglier. Things continue on in uber slow and ugly fashion until about the 6 minute mark, when this Philly based crew of destroyers, kick into a speed burst that has been basically unseen from the band since their Demo days. The band had always played extremely slow, brutally heavy music that combined Death Metal, Doom, Sludge, and Drone with a sort of Experimental streak, but on their Demo, they also included a few faster parts even incorporating Blast Beats. So this fast section is something different from what OTESANEK had been doing, and the dynamic it creates is killer. Due to the slowness of the first 6 minutes, the fast part seems even more extreme and blazing, and when the slow, bone crushing heaviness returns about a minute later, it seems even slower by contrast. The vocals following the fast section are some of the most disgusting, gutwrenching vox Ive ever heard too, so thats another high point. They trudge slow and low again til about the 8 minute mark then kick off another fast section to take us out to the end at about 8:28.

"Sanguinary" opens with a bit of feedback and then a short fast section which is again kind of different for these guys. They alternate between their usual slow and devastating sound and these short blasts of faster stuff for a bit, then about a minute and a half in, everything pretty much comes to stop, and it just crawls for a bit, then we kind of return to the back and forth between the quick bits of chaos and the Death/Doom. Between 3:30 and 4 minutes we pretty much slow all the way down to nothing again, and we have just this tense minimalistic section where there is just a chug here and there from the guitar and very little else save a percussion hit here or there. About the 6 minute mark, shit gets super heavy again, and the vocals come back a bit different than usual, in that some of it isnt super low and guttural but more strained and wretched. Its just slow and crushing here for a couple minutes, then by about 8:30 we've slowed almost down to a stop again. From there it gets noisier and nosier until the finish at just over 9 minutes.

And that's it, the record is over and so was the band. The band had actually called it quits prior to the release of this record and so this release was basically their swan song. Some of the liner notes are also imbued with the finality as there is Thank You's for those you "understood". OTESANEK was a killer band that existed in the deep Extreme Metal Underground and during their existence, never got the recognition they deserved, and still are largely unknown.

They only put out a handful of songs spread across 5 releases, but I suppose on the upside, all those songs are pretty long, so you get more material in a few songs than you would alot more tracks by a Grind band with 30 second songs. Its interesting that this record, their final release, has 2 of their "shorter" songs, compared to previous material. These tracks, and the one from the same session that was used on the "Fo(u)r Burials) split are all shorter than anything else they released except for a song or 2 on their Demo. OTESANEK released a total of 9 songs in their existence, The Demo tape from 2002 features 4 songs (clocking 32:35), the 2004 self titled CD features 2 songs (clocking 30 mins), the 2007 split with COFFINS features 1 song (clocking 22 mins), the 2008 4-way split "Fo(u)r Burials" features 1 song (clocking 8:33), and finally this 2009 final record features 2 songs (clocking 17:29). So when you break it down, they released only 9 songs, but its just over 100 minutes of music, so they average over 11 minutes in length. This group did something truly powerful and unique and if you're a fan of extremely heavy, visceral, ugly music then I encourage you to check these guys out. Particularly if you're a fan or Extreme Doom, Funeral Doom, Death/Doom, Drone, etc. If you are interested in OTESANEK and would like to read a more in depth piece about their entire existence, check out this "Awesome Bands You Should Know...OTESANEK" piece I wrote, here.... .

If you would like to here one of these jams here is "Sanguinary"...

If you would like to purchase this record, here is a Discogs link...

Andy Sweitzer


  1. its good to see someone still give a shit about this band. gone but not forgotten. up from the dirt

    1. I really wish I could have gotten to see them live, but sadly I never did, but yeah I fucking love everything they did. They really had such a unique sound. I mean I like alot of different bands that play different combinations of Doom, Drone, Death Metal, Funeral Doom, Death/Doom, etc; bands like TREES, CORRUPTED, EHNAHRE, KHANATE, THE BODY, SIEGE ENGINE, OCEAN, etc, but no one does it quite like OTESANEK did.