Profundi, "The Omega Rising"
Ever wonder what happened to Naglfar, those raging Swedes who once graced the throne abdicated by post-90’s Dissection? For a few years, they looked like quite worthy successors, with ‘Vittra’ still standing as a peak achievement in the style. But, alas, the following the departure of shrieking siren Jens Ryden, mediocrity struck and subsequent material (2005's 'Pariah) smacks of commercialism and complacency, despite the broiling exterior.
And so, after years of mysterious silence, Jens Ryden returns from the abyss with solo project Profundi, seizing the crown from the very group he once led. And this is a solo project in the purest sense of the phrase: lyrics, vocals, guitars, bass, drums, production, mixing, (pre-)mastering, artwork, logo, and even the booklet typeface were all created and executed by Ryden himself. Profundi is no little gig to pass the time; were it not for Ihsahn’s grandiose ‘The Adversary’, Ryden’s ‘The Omega Rising’ could be considered the top solo release of the year.
Profundi a classic entry into the already quite storied ledger of melodic blackened metal from Sweden set to fever pitch. It brims with lacerating vocals, racing leads and constant drum battery, every bit of it oozing malice and venom. This—‘The Omega Rising’—is what Naglfar has been missing for the past four years: passion, depth, and ‘street cred’, if you will pardon the phrase.
But beyond its refreshing return-to-form foundation, ‘The Omega Rising’ features a number of other distinctive traits that set it apart from Ryden-era Naglfar. Throughout the album, Ryden features a selection of symphonic elements, primarily the organ, though also including a short orchestral instrumental and a number of synthesized string passages. These are not used solely as introductory gimmicks, as they so often are, but as legitimate structural supports. In addition, he performs a number of guitar solos and harmonized leads that recall the classic melodies of 90’s Swedish metal, and even a bass ‘solo’ on the track ‘Unanimation’. Although the riffs of the album itself are rather strong, without these additional features, ‘The Omega Rising’ would almost certainly feel flat, as it carries on quite relentlessly for 40 minutes.
‘The Omega Rising’ does not completely revitalize the Swedish classic era of the 90’s, but it pays brilliant homage to the likes of Dissection, early Naglfar itself, and the lesser known acts such as Dawn and Sacramentum whose efforts still go underappreciated. Though it is unlikely that Profundi will garner much public response due to limited promotion, ‘The Omega Rising’ is a powerful reminder of a bygone era and its timeless success.