Tomorrow’s Rain / Ovdan A Triumph Of Heartfelt Recovery And Stunning Collaborations

Forming in 2011 and working tirelessly in the underground scene, Tel Aviv’s Death/Doom/Gothic Metal sextet Tomorrow’s Rain released their debut studio album Hollow in 2020. This was an unusual offering as it was released in both English and Hebrew. Four years later, they are back with their follow-up Ovdan, which is the Hebrew word for loss. Appropriate, as for their vocalist, Yishai Sweartz, it was almost the end for him.

Tomorrow’s Rain – Ovdan (AOP Records)

Release Date: 19 April 2024

Words: Jools Green

On 12 March 2023, Yishai Sweartz was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a severe heart attack. His heart catheterization had failed. He then went through an open-heart surgery of almost eight hours to save his life. After that, he spent three weeks in intensive care and a few months at home recuperating.

So, in many ways, although Ovdan means loss, the album also represents a new beginning, with several of the tracks reflecting Yishai’s experience.

Tomorrow's Rain. Although Ovdan means loss, the album also represents a new beginning, with several of the tracks reflecting Yishai's experience.
Tomorrow’s Rain. Although Ovdan means loss, the album also represents a new beginning, with several of the tracks reflecting Yishai’s experience.

Like Hollow, which featured a myriad of special guests, Ovdan also boasts an impressive collection of guests. However, the main difference between this release and the previous offering was that Hollow was written around fourteen years ago, and the band has seen a succession of lineup changes since then.

Ovdan delivers eleven tracks, spanning fifty-three minutes, so most pieces are pretty substantial in length. Opening on one of the two longer offerings at over seven minutes duration, Roads features Andreas Vingback of Dark Funeral and Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus.

It’s gentle and reflective to open. I love the haunting saxophone that weaves its way through the music, and when the semi-spoken vocals arrive, they make a stunning contrast with their deep, bleak and reflective delivery.

Further in leadwork reflects the saxophone with the cleaner, slightly tormented vocals, adding extra dimension to a track that takes a brief Gothic turn at its midpoint, returning to the earlier doomier pace. The final minute is the real surprise when the track takes a dark, brutal turn. A brilliant piece that holds a lot of surprises with every corner it turns.

The content standard across this release is very high, with each piece a superb stand-alone offering in its own right. But the next two pieces are my absolute favourites of the album.

Firstly, Sunrise is again initially reflective and minimalist. The opening clean vocals here have a smoky, sultry tone. Think Leonard Cohen and you won’t be far off the mark. The song opens out and becomes bleaker with a haunting, doom-rich mood, switching to a harsh, acidic vocal delivery. The keyboard adds to the hauntingly reflective mood and builds and culminates in a soaring but reflective swathe of second-half lead work.

Secondly, Muaka, with its acoustic guitar opener, features guest vocals courtesy of Attila Csihar of Mayhem, whose raw, acerbic vocals cut through the haunting melody that courses across the track, adding a dark, bleak aspect. A superbly powerful piece.

Room 124 has a rawer opener than the previous pieces, building and turning superbly bleak and Doom rich on the arrival of the raw, deep and harsh vocals. The keyboards midway through the second half add an eerie and haunting aspect. A wonderfully meandering chunk of Doom that develops a lot of power towards the close.

Aside from just how good this album sounds, the other aspect that really impresses me is the broad-ranging mixture of guests they have gathered together on this release.

The next piece, I Skuggornas Grav, not only features the vocal talents of Mickael Broberg of Unanimated, but it also boasts the legendary Anja Huwe of ’80s German post-punk Goth rockers Xmal Deutschland on guest vocals. It’s beautifully haunting, reflective and sparing musically, piano-led, putting a lot of focus on the superb vocal content, which includes a large proportion of spoken lyrics. With the sung lyrics developing an even more eerie and haunting edge, this is an Avant-Garde piece that commands your attention.

Continuing the list of broad-ranging guests is Jan Lubitzki from Technical Thrash Metal outfit Depressive Age, who delivers additional vocals on the next piece, Burning Times. A beautifully reflective but haunting piece that melds haunting piano with equally haunting cleans and tortuous harsh vocals. It is a largely doomy reflective piece, elevated by haunting leadwork in the second half.

The next track, Turn Around, has two versions on this album, both featuring the guitar talents of Michael Denner, formerly of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond. It’s a very Gothic-tinged track that is hauntingly engaging, delivered at a mid-pace with a hugely memorable repeat riff and closing leadwork. It’s a track guaranteed to stick in your mind.

The second seven-minute offering is Convalescence. A clean and reflective track to open, with a superb haunting guitar repeat and engaging ebb and build, it drops away to a reflective pace as the spoken lyrics arrive. It takes a sinister doom-laden downturn with the arrival of the harsh vocals between quieter reflective swathes. I love how the mood and atmosphere shift constantly across the track. An emotively powerful piece.

The clean, guitar-led instrumental Rainbow gives a brief moment of reflective contemplation before the equally brief spoken word piece, Intensive C.U.

Finally, you get the second version of Turn Around. This time, a gothic rock version, as mentioned, features once more Michael Denner along with Ben Christo of Sisters Of Mercy. It follows the same route as the other version including a superb swathe of closing leadwork. But it is lighter and more reflective generally in sound in the guitar department but just as raw in the vocal department. Definitely a track that warrants two versions.

I rarely explore any Gothic-related Metal, but with Ovdan, Tomorrow’s Rain offers more than enough to really capture and hold my interest. It definitely delivers something different and is well worth a listen for its unique, well-written quality.

This excellent album will be available via Plastic Head (Europe, USA, World) and Edel (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Sleeve Notes

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