Officium Triste - Charcoal Hearts - 15 Years Of Hurt - [Compilation]

01. No Hope
02. Divinity [re-recorded]
03. My Charcoal Heart [Acoustic Version]
04. Love Like Blood [Killing Joke cover]
05. Fading Like A Dying Candle [From The Split With Cold Mourning (1998)]
06. Downfall (Through Veils Of Grey) [From The Split With Cold Mourning (1998)]
07. Intro: Officium Triste Part II [Mountains of Depressiveness EP (1996)]
08. Mountains Of Depressiveness [Mountains of Depressiveness EP (1996)]
09. Dreams Of Sorrow [Mountains of Depressiveness EP (1996)]

The Dutch doomsters Officium Triste released this album as a 'celebration' (can doomsters celebrate? No one has sent me my doom fan handbook yet and I could use a ruling on this) of, well, as the title implies, 15 years of their doomed existence. The album is comprised of nine tracks with the first four recent recordings for the occasion and the last five included from prior releases as a historical retrospective. The cumulative result gives the listener a good sampling of their traditional-style, romantic-themed doom metal.

There is a discernible difference between the first and second half of the album. The newer material shows perhaps some musical growth as well as additional confidence in performance and production. Seeing as the album is presented from newest recordings to oldest, it's almost a bit like a slow sonic devolution. This also perhaps make the task of reviewing the album a shade more difficult than traditional, chronologically accurate comps.

Having listened to some older OT before receiving my copy of this, the first thing that struck me was how good their newer tracks sounded. This is partially due to composition, but largely due to the better production values. The individual components - the melodic-yet-melancholic guitar lines, the mood-setting keyboard, even Pim's bestial roar - all mesh together really well.

Both "Hope" and the re-recorded "Divinity" incorporate these components well, they build up well, and both at times kick from a glacial pace to a more upbeat, rockin' tempo. These same traits are present in the song structure of their older material as well, including the almost Opeth-ian sounding "Fading Like A Dying Candle" (reminds me a bit of Morningrise) back to "Dreams Of Sorrow" from their original EP. The difference is simply that the wisdom of added years and studio toil have taken what was already solidly good material and pushed it to that next level. Which really bodes well for whatever material they opt to re-record and release in 2024 when they hit 30.

Perhaps my favorite two tracks on the album are the two that really stand out and apart from the rest. While the other material adheres to a certainly well-executed approach, the acoustic version of "My Charcoal Heart" as well as the cover of Killing Joke's "Love Like Blood" really jump out. The acoustic "My Charcoal Heart" is stripped down and features both clean, honest vocals from Pim as well as a fantastic accompaniment on mandolin courtesy of Simone Vinke. "Love Like Blood" is a fantastic doomed version of an 80's wave classic, featuring some more clean vocal work from Pim to keep it a fairly straightforward interpretation of the original.

If you are a doom fan, Charcoal Hearts - 15 Years Of Hurt is definitely worth your while.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Band profile: Officium Triste
Album: Charcoal Hearts - 15 Years Of Hurt -


Written on 10.10.2009 by
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
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Marcel Hubregtse - 12.10.2009 at 18:26  
Nice, spot-on review.
BitterCOld - 12.10.2009 at 19:13  
In retrospect, the production score is a bit low. shame you cannot check two boxes and have it round to a X.5 ... the first four tracks really do sound great, with improved production values playing a key role.
InnerSelf - 31.01.2010 at 09:45  
" "Fading Like A Dying Candle" (reminds me a bit of Morningrise) "

That was exactly my thoughts when I listened to this song for the first time

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