Opacia – On Blackest Wings (Self-Released)

Sunday, 30th June 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

Genre melding has been a stock method to incorporate diverse influences – and hopefully attract a wider reach for a following. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Opacia since 2015 have been parading their death/thrash platform, releasing a self-titled demo, single, and We Ride EP within a tidy 2016 window – setting the stage for this follow-up full-length On Blackest Wings. After digesting these eight tracks it’s apparent that this band possess a hefty musicianship quotient which ups their game, delivering fierce efforts full of groove/harmony catches against some serious progressive melodic death/thrash riffs and tempos.

Preferring to expand their arrangements based on plenty of musical information to digest (average song length – six and a half minutes), Opacia know how to set tension and atmosphere even when elevating the BPM’s to death blast measures. There’s that sense of Revocation/Exmortus twin guitar sophistication and fluid intricacies during “Born of the Blood” and “Vehemence” which levels the listeners in a good manner – the tempo fluctuation of the latter sure to cause mandatory pit pummeling or unison headbanging when aired live. The avalanche of double kick hits and speedy riffs with gallop crunch puts “Soul Hunter” in proper opener context – the stop/start nature throwing a bevy of thrash/death parts in the air from both European and American perspectives. The vocals possess the right venomous rasp with savage screams – often matching the intensity of the song on display, even in a track that has a bit of Iced Earth meets Children of Bodom finesse during personal favorite “The Swarm” (love the opening circular guitar melody that has a “Nice Dreams”/Powermad feel). There’s enough versatility in the tempos, transitions, and general musicianship to groove/hook factors that boredom is not an option from the Opacia operation system – layers of entertainment are guaranteed, and Luke Sever has amazing taste and character from his solid rhythm play and his fluid, technical lead abilities.

Taking inspiration from the 90’s to current brigade in their favored genres, Opacia deliver a killer album that stands very well against the best in the business for their brand of catchy melodic death/thrash. On Blackest Wings swings for the fences, executing ferocious material with the proper mid-tempo control at times to guarantee plenty of future airings to whoever decides to listen.

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