Dhampyr- “Oceanclots” Review + Song Stream

Dhampyr Oceanclots

I’ve been attempting to keep up with Dhampyr for a while now, but with such a massive discography, this can often feel like a losing battle. Still, the band’s elegiac black metal is rewarding when found, and newest release on Acephale Winter Productions Oceanclots is a gigantic undertaking but one that truly displays the force Dhampyr wields. While some may be quick to lump this with the recent blackgaze phenomena, Oceanclots feels to me like a dense, depressive black metal album through the filter of an intoxicated stupor. As one fights to retain consciousness against the weight of vice, the music blurs to a point where motifs and themes are reduced to their emotive qualities and instruments lose their texture. It’s an ugly haze, yet it’s oddly comforting.

Dhampyr’s evolution over time from solo project to a collective effort was something that initially troubled me. The opiate-infused melancholy couldn’t possibly carry the same weight with a friend to share in the burden, could it? A couple releases onward and it’s safe to say that Dhampyr’s growth has not hindered its progress and, if anything, has allowed the project to truly stand upright like the vast terror it has always had the potential to be. Were Dhampyr to be a single entity, I envision it as a man made of branches, tall and hideous, perpetually cloaked in fog and doomed to wander the earth alone. Instead of addiction taking the reins on this album, longing has become the primary sensation. Thick waves of guitar fuzz and slightly jerky, mid-paced drumming set the stage for contemplation and unease, over which multiple vocalists air their misfortunes and misgivings. Perhaps Dhampyr’s evolution was always meant to reach this point: those of us committed to death for a long enough time who have not died will surely watch our peers succumb to the very force with which we are fascinated, leaving us to either mourn or simply reflect upon our own existence.

To try to capture such an ambitious and shifting album in a review is folly, but it’s safe to say that the few tracks available to the public give an inkling of the broad scope of Dhampyr’s musical talents. From sparse and ethereal to dense misery, Dhampyr touches upon many facets of black metal (as well as some well done synth-driven electronic songs along the way) all with a sense of familiarity. One can almost see the weary hands of the musicians, knowingly playing out their own funeral dirge.


Today we are streaming the album’s fourth track, “A Kodak of Guncotton Shipwrecks.” Howling feedback, tremolo picked guitars, and vocals that sound more like a furious wind than an actual human set the stage for this song. The song’s title hints at loss and nostalgia, which ooze through every fiery moment of the song. The pacing may be constant and rather upbeat but this song will leave your spirits to wallow somewhere far behind. As the last moments drift out like fog rolling back to sea, the solemnity of the experience lingers in the listener’s mind. Check it out below and place a pre-order from Acephale Winter Productions, where you can hear two other tracks from this album.