A lot of musical projects can act as a voice for the artist, allowing them to express various thoughts and feelings through the music. This can be personal experiences with family or relationships, or the material reality in which we live in, with each album being part of an alchemical process to discover the “Light” we call “God”. If the latter piqued your interest, Öxxö Xööx (OX) and their most recent album Ÿ might just be for you. Headed by the eponymous Öxxö Xööx (Laurent Lunoir for the human tongue speakers), each album features a unique, handcrafted language, and a singularity level density of musicianship.
OX isn’t alone on these aural explorations, returning vocalist Rïcïnn and drummer Isarnos lend their efforts into OX’s high concept endeavours. The closest approximation to OX’s sound would be some form of progressive gothic death doom. That should be a good indicator for what you’re in for. Slow, chunky riffs are often backed by operatic vocals and droning pipe organs, but each riff quickly morphs into a different tempo or time signature with reckless abandon. ‘Köböl (D)’ feels like a track from the previous album, Nämïdäë, with it’s focus on doomy riffs and gothic sounding organs, but Ÿ sees the band pushing themselves even further. For a band already so musically dense, that is not a statement to be taken lightly. Ÿ has a greater focus on being overall just more punishing than OX’s earlier work, with greater use of double kicks, and faster riffs. One section on the track ‘3ën’ could easily hold its own with the likes of Gojira. MIDI Metal magician Master Boot Record (MBR) also lends some of their efforts throughout the album, with the opener being the first clear instance of this. Combining MBR’s already unique sound into the sprawling cosmos of OX is a winning formula.
The borderline labyrinthine nature of the music can make it hard to just have on in the background, and it can be just as difficult to fully drink in when your attention is fully on the album. OX doesn’t compromise in the slightest when it comes to getting their message across, even if it means you having to step away and reevaluate your life up until this point every track or so. To summarise this album in such a short review would be nothing short of reductive. If you like your metal music dense, conceptual and highly complex, this is an easy recommendation.
Ÿ will be released through Blood Music on 29th November and is available here.
Words: Sean Elias