The Omnipresence of Loss is a hauntingly exceptional representation of all that funeral doom metal has to offer. It has the potential to both lull the listener to sleep, and keep them up all night, contemplating what we are all really doing here.
Something that always intrigues me about music is the vast spectrum of which is can affect different people. One person can absolutely fall head-over-heels for a genre, and another might not touch it with a ten-foot auxiliary cord. This seems to be particularly true about the metal scene. There are the ‘prog nerds’, the ‘metalcore bros’, the ‘thrash metalheads’, and so on. Many seem to write themselves off into a category of whatever they enjoy the most and more artists from that realm just keep floating their way. That being said, the genre also holds a few outliers; the sub-genres that fans of the more prominent themes must seek out specifically. In this case, I’m talking about funeral doom metal. Band in point: Urza, with their newest album The Omnipresence of Loss. And maybe it’s my affinity for dark and macabre elements, but funeral doom metal is a sub-genre for which I have a very soft spot. So when I was introduced to Urza, I was in.
The Omnipresence of Loss is the first full-length release of the Berlin-based group, and boy, does it leave a good impression. The album opens with the gruff-in-a-good-way “Lost In Decline” that consumes the listener for a whopping seventeen minutes of sultry darkness. This track serves as the perfect introduction to the album in its entirety, as it continues down the path of nihilistic resistance with its successor, “A History of Ghosts” to fully solidify the listener’s idea that they may no longer on the same plane as everyone else around them.
In an interview about the album, the band’s members stated that upon writing the album, ‘we had not a concrete kind of concept, but it all got together and we gathered lyrics that fit the music to the core: reflecting negative aspects in life as loss of hope, loss of beliefs, loss in general, apocalyptic prophecies.’ Which, in all honesty, is exactly what I like to hear about the choices in my doom metal repertoire. For those unfamiliar with doom metal, the sub-genre can essentially be summed up by lower-tuned guitars, long, hefty breakdowns, and contain lyrics (if there are any) with themes of despair. One reason I believe it’s an easy sect of the metal scene to enjoy is that it is inherently very deep. Doom does not have to work hard to get the listener to pay attention to it. For me, I find most doom bands have something to say that typically throws me into a bit of existential dread. Call me a bit of a masochist, but that is exactly what I want out of any artistic work.
Heavy hitters like “Path of Tombs” and “From the Vaults to Extermination” stay true to Urza‘s mission with a whole cacophony of gruesome guitar riffs and bass slams, accompanied by some gut-wrenching wails of despair that perfectly encapsulate what funeral doom is all about. Then, the album comes to a triumphant conclusion with “Demystifying the Blackness”, with its sticky, sludgy blasts and thunderous melody, to represent a feeling of utter acceptance of, and maybe even survival through, the impending doom of an apocalyptic fate. This is truly the album to whip out when you are exhausted and ready to wallow in all of life’s squabbles.
I am well-aware that funeral doom is not for everyone. Its propensity for dark, unnerving themes are not the most appealing to all audiences. However, I urge those who are willing to give it a chance. Whether you, like myself, are more driven by the concepts or messages being portrayed when it comes to art, or you are more entranced by the technical, theoretical side of music, I strongly believe that The Omnipresence of Loss will strike a chord with you. It is, overall, very worthy of its placement both in the funeral doom metal world, and in the world of metal as a whole.