Folium Limina by The OtolithRelease date: October 21, 2022
Label: Blues Funeral Recordings
I will make this quick for SubRosa fans – yes this is the album you have been waiting and hoping for and it is possibly better than anything SubRosa had produced in its career. For those that are unfamiliar, Salt Lake City based SubRosa disbanded in 2019 with four of its five members revealing their intention to continue to release music together. The outcome is finally here in the shape of Folium Limina, the debut album from The Otolith. The band plays a unique style of doom which mixes with post-metal and is captivating, enthralling and powerful. Folium Limina is an outstanding album which will really put the fox among the chickens if you had already settled on an end of year list.
Genre tags are a beautiful thing as two contrasting styles can appear under the same banner and it feels peculiar to call The Otolith doom but this is the base they build from. This is doom with violins, guitars, bass, drums and a range of vocal deliveries. Album closer ‘Dispirit’ soars through a number of these as it starts off with a post-rock vibe before entering into the bands doom feel and then bursts into post-metal with roaring vocals and thunderous instrumentation. I love a good closing track and this, as for the whole album, is exceptional.
I feel a need to compare this album to SubRosa not only because of the members history but because it doesn’t really sound like anyone else. Each track offers a different journey, some with a menacing, foreboding atmosphere such as opener ‘Sing No Coda’ or ‘Ekpyrotic’ and some leave you to wallow in tension for longer than others. ‘Bone Dust’ contains one of the best uses of the Charlie Chaplain speech from The Great Dictator and the band supplements it wonderfully. Every time I have gone through the album I have ended with a new discovery or favourite song, there is no filler here.
So what is different from SubRosa? Well the vocals and guitar of Rebecca Vernon are not present and it is of no detriment to the music, in fact, personally, I feel the vocals are delivered in stunning arrangements here and the music delivers a far more powerful crescendo or switch from quiet to loud. Every single song on this album has a purpose and never a moment is wasted. For SubRosa fans it should be a delight from start to finish, no matter how long you loop it. After hearing a band do a great album I often think about what will come next, in the case of The Otolith I don’t think I care right now, I know I will be wallowing in the glorious beauty of Folium Limina for years to come.