Oneirogen – Kiasma CD

23 February 2014 xdementia No Comment


Oneirogen – Kiasma CD

Denovali Records

Oneirogen is the project of Mario Diaz de Leon who is a classically trained guitarist based out of New York city and also composes music under his own name. Oneirogen generally features guitar-based epic drone tracks that are paired with heavy synthesizer dirges ranging from huge exploding harmonies to emotional arpeggios. Kiasma is the third effort from the project following an initial full-length and one ep.

Kiasma is an expansion on the ideas and aesthetics that de Leon had set in his previous full-length Hypnos and I would say is an evolution in that sense. The Oneirogen sound is quite unique compared to most guitar-drone acts where the lame e-bow musings of such acts are replaced in Oneirogen’s sound with epic alternating harmonies and solo-esque hooks obviously culling much influence from modern day metal music.

The intense atmosphere of Kiasma is impossible to deny and it delivers fully. The best parts are the simple soaring melodies that permeate every aspect of the album. I think the only negative aspect of the style here is due to my own personal hangups with guitar-centric drone music; the sound of a wailing guitar always seems a touch lonely without a drummer behind it. I feel I can clearly say that the album would benefit heavily by taking a more traditional approach and adding a full-band here.

There are moments that de Leon successfully pulls me away from such orthodox associations however; like in the excellently composed Pathogen where the synth lines fill the empty spaces and compensate for lack of instrumentation. There’s also a healthy noise moment in the epic 14 minute Katabasis that creates a dense layering of sound.

Oneirogen’s strength lies in his indelible sense of atmosphere and mystery as well as his exemplary compositional chops. Where pitched tones are concerned Kiasma wholly delivers through de Leon’s guitar mastery and synthesizer accompaniment. Yet I find myself yearning for more creative sound design and textural layering that I feel would just bring this to the next level and release Oneirogen of it’s more orthodox limitations. All that aside, Kiasma is highly recommended for those who walk that fine line between metal and noise/drone, excellent work that simply can’t be matched.

Composition: ★★★★☆
Sounds: ★★★½☆
Production Quality: ★★★★☆
Concept: ★★★★☆
Packaging: ★★★½☆
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

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