Review 2062 : Olhava – Sacrifice – English

Olhava has never been silent.

Since 2016, the Russian band led by Andrey Novozhilov (all instruments/vocals, Trna) and completed since 2019 by Timur Yusupov (drums, Trna, Somn), has been regularly offering us new laments. In early 2024, the duo announced the release of Sacrifice, their sixth album.

The band plunges us into its icy universe with Forever With You, a first haunting composition that progresses to ghostly howls, then finally accelerates with a relentless blast. The track eventually slows down, keeping its intense airy melancholy touch, until it’s caught up in the turmoil again, finally broken by Ageless River VI, an interlude where water meets hazy soothing keyboards. Quietness turns to darkness as I See Myself In Your Eyes, the next track, unveils its impressive sonorities where the massive rhythm wakes up to shroud us in its suffocating but relatively luminous veil from which screams will later emerge. The track remains very slow and oppressive, marvelously controlling its contrast and letting it flare up to join the serene Ageless River VII, where nature reveals a comforting aspect which only Eternal Fire manages to transform into visceral but still soaring rage. The combination of ethereal vocal parts and more languid passages is perfect for transporting our spirit, before drums impose a more martial passage before once again letting the tornado blow us away until Ageless River VIII, where calm returns, accompanied by warm keys. The track becomes slightly more disquieting towards the end, before giving way to the cold Sacrifice, which builds on more massive and raw sounds than usual, but still takes a striking direction, whether in the violence or when the sound begins to calm down to let Ageless River IX lay down the last misty touches accompanied by some percussion to close the album.

Although their previous albums were already excellent calls to spiritual retreat, Olhava continue their work with Sacrifice, which offers a perfect visceral balance between icy violence and soothing calm.


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