With all the excitement of getting a new My Dying Bride album after 6 years, as good as A Mortal Binding²⁰²⁴ is, it’s easy to overlook other albums coming out on the same date, April 19th, such as the 2nd full length Ovdan²⁰²⁴ (released on AOP Records) by the Israeli melodic death doom gothic metallers Tomorrow’s Rain, which would be a very big mistake, huge, to quote Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) from “Pretty Woman” motion picture, because Tomorrow’s Rain’s 2nd album is at least as good as My Dying Bride’s 14th album, if not superior. In any case, it is definitely one of the best genre offerings since Shores Of Null’s fantastic The Loss Of Beauty²⁰²³ which I reviewed here a few months ago (5.5/6.)

The roots of this ensemble featuring Yishai Sweartz (vocals), Raffael Mor (guitars), Yoni Biton (guitars), Yaggel Cohen (bass), Nir Nakav (drummer) and Alex Karlinsky (keyboards-2017; 2021-keyboards) go back to 2002 and the inception of Moonskin which became Tomorrow’s Rain 9 years later. The members, being Hebrews of Hebrews, tend to either write in English with some Hebrew lyricism – such as on this one, where the weird unique and creepy “I Skuggornas Grav (In the Tomb Of Shadows)” featuring Unanimated’s Mickael Broberg and Xmal Deutschland’s Anja Huwe, is melodeclamated in Hebrew by Yishai Sweartz with possible side English translation by Anja Huwe or the spoken word track “Intensive Care Unit” (second consecutive instrumental after “Rainbow”) which would end the album where it not for the gothic rock version of “Turn Around” de facto ending it – or they write an entire album in English (Hollow²⁰²⁰) and then release its Hebrew version that same year. Being as I am a great admirer of the Hebrew language and culture if only as a Christian, I, nevertheless prefer my heavy metal in English, so I appreciate that they write a lion’s share of lyrics in that language.

While the overall concept of Ovdan²⁰²⁴ (Storage Lake) seems to be death and dying from some terrible terminal disease or, alternatively, watching a family member, presumably a father, go through it, there is a philosophical thread of people ultimately being alone in all their struggles with no one to empathize with them or, if so, to understand them. At least, so much we can gather from the protagonist’s confession in the opening Pink Floyd-ian and conclusively heavily The Gallery¹⁹⁹⁵ Dark Tranquillity-ian “Roads” that “there’s no one to comfort me tomorrow, this road I had enough of, long sleepless nights to become a fevered circle in my wounded heart” so, consequently I owe nothing to anyone, hence, as I die, “I don’t regret anything I’ve done, “I have lived and I have sinned”, “I loved” and lost everything I had”, “I don’t have a long way to go no more”, “I love no more”, “like a guest in his dark shimmer” “to embrace the journey’s end welcome shadow”, which begs the question: what is the titular ovdan, storage lake, to which I offer my own interpretation based on what I sense just from listening to the music.

Water, like blood, is symbolic of life, or, in this particular case, life force. Since we are talking about storage of life force we can reasonably imply that its both limited and that, therefore, we need to stock up on it, preferably in times of joy, happiness or simply contentment and balance. This is, of course, because this unfair and merciless life tends to grind the human spirit until depletion. This life force can take many forms: ‭love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, as well as other fruit of a healthy spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV.) Every song, therefore, seems to simultaneously call for a different form of life force and warn of its supply at a critically low level which wouldn’t work half as well if Tomorrow’s Rain weren’t such fantastic songwriters, practically every song reminding me what I love so much about the genre: the main motiff slowly but deliberately evolving, growing into a full blown emotional baobab which explodes seemingly outside of the feeler’s control. The diminishing hope in the sarcastically named perfect “Sunrise” stylistically evocative of Red Moon Architect, the waning patience in the Fiction²⁰⁰⁷ Dark Tranquillity-ian perfect “Burning Times”, the diminishing faithfulness in the simple straight melodeathly “Turn Around”, the dying hope in the perfect favorite Swallow The Sun-ny funeral doom of “Convalescence”, the flickering peace in the fantastic Daylight Dies-y “Muaka (Year)” of which the beginning is strongly evocative of My Dying Bride’s “Your River”, the doubtful love in the fantastic combination of For Lies I Sire²⁰¹⁰ My Dying Bride and Maryllion’s Misplaced Childhood¹⁹⁸⁵ of “Room 124” – all are testimonies to the spirit swallowed up by flesh and some of its fruit: ‭enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy (Galatians 5:19, ESV.), Ovdan²⁰²⁴ as mercilessly honest about the human condition as that other exposé on it I’ve just quoted from, greatly enhanced by the harsh growls reminiscent of Michael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) and emotive cleans evocative of both Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost) and Peter ‘O’Steele (Type O’Negative). Perhaps more horrifyingly, Ovden²⁰²⁴ is like a black wormhole that swallows up any semblance of persevering human spirit or…is it just me?

For all the accolades, a few things keep this album short of perfection. For instance, why do we need two non-songs in a row (I know, Morbid Angel holds the Guinness World Record with three pompous instrumentals ending Formulas Fatal To The Flesh¹⁹⁹⁸) to end the album and then a gothic rock version of the melodeathly “Turn Around”? Also, while I appreciate the uniqueness of “I Skuggornas Grav”, it brings everything to a screeching halt creating a momentum kill from which, thanfully, Tomorrow’s Rain does recover immediately with “Burning Times”, although, I agree that the effect may have been intended. Finally, I’m not sure “Roads”, which takes a long time to truly take off, is a best opener, although I admit I can’t offer a substitute from tracks on hand. Like I said, these are minute details that don’t merit more than a 0.5 point deduction, and, in truth, my unenforceable true score is 5.6/6.

Bleak, powerful, slightly progressive (not enough for an additional tag) beautifully written and excellently performed, with fantastic guitarwork, very catchy and memorable with excellent replay value, the merely 2nd album from Tomorrow’s Rain comes highly recommended from this avid genre afficionado. I sure will be watching the further development of this fascinating sextet with great interest.

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