CD Review

Ominous Erotica - Two Releases

By Marcus Pan

Ominous EroticaOminous Erotica - the name conjures up imagery of fetish chicks in leather and PVC. Parties that involve lime jello and Crisco for the more adventurous. Writhing bodies strapped spread eagle to wooden stocks and slapped mercilessly with wet noodles. Ominous and erotic - dark and laden with fetishes. So when I spun these two CDs by William Butler's project, Ominous Erotica's Lips of Deceit (1996) and Sombre Embrace, Hollow Decline (1998), I was expecting something similar in sound and makeup to Push's song Writhe. Just as I described above. Instead I was treated to manic depressive anxieties, angst in abundance and more cliché goth poetry than you can shake your noodle at.

Ominous Erotica hail from Indiana, USA. They put out their form of angsty gothness in the form of Butler-created record label, Puriel Recordings. William's sound is combined of sample-based spoken word cuts, deep bass synth lines and chord progressive keyboard melodies. Lyrics are mostly an exercise in Bad Goth Poetry ( riddled with loneliness, decay, broken hearts and all that makes us GAF. These are applied to the electronic melodies in a spoken word style, sometimes tinged with a metallic edge.

Themewise, all of OE's material is of broken hearts, broken loves and being left alone. No matter where poor William goes he's unlucky in love so it seems. There's nobody to share his darkness with him…and every song - and I mean on both albums - covers this theme. You figure that eventually he might find release in some other interest or hobby - but instead he consistently and constantly pours out his empty heart for us. There's got to be something else that interests him that he can write about, don't you think?

Lips of DeceitLips of Deceit
The debut release is the CD creation of Lips of Deceit, a collection of songs that all have similar styles. This release was dedicated by William to the Summer Solstice. It starts out with the nominal track that bears the album name. The bass line in this piece is rather good and the keyboard melodies used here are symphonic. There is a faded guitar in the background. This is one of the better tracks throughout the album, even if the lyrics are already rife with dark clichés such as "the dark energy consumes, through veins it flows." William speaks the words in a dark and moody format, but does ok on this track. On others of the album he gets monotonously annoying - not enough of a vocal range used. He also seems to be trying to cull a super-bass, super-gloomy vocal sound to give a "Boo scary!" effect to his lyrics. But when his diaphragm strains and you hear that slip - it all comes crashing down. Track 3, Fetish Sex, is an interesting piece. For a moment I was finding those noodle-ridden images I spoke about at the outset of this review. "Gag your mouth and lay you down - prepare your body to be bound." Whipash, baybee! Vocals are tinged with that metal edge I spoke about - this is another highlight track of the album. Track 5, Dearest Sister, also bears mentioning. But for the opposite reason. The track is typically moody, darkly melodic like most of OE's sound, but there is a portion of this song that has to go. I don't mean this lightly. From about fifteen seconds into this track, and consistently here and there throughout the rest, there is this wailing guy in the background. Always. Somebody please just fucking kill him and get it over with.

Somber Embrace, Hollow Decline
Two years after their debut release, Ominous Erotica released their follow up album Somber Embrace, Hollow Decline. Made up of the same melodic darker sounds, with a bit more computeresque nature I think, this 1998 release I found to be superior to Lips of Deceit. SEHD is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Anton Szandor LaVey, father of the Church of Satan. The dark Dr. has had a great impact on the life of William Butler and he provides a paragraph of discussion surrounding the importance of this influence to him on the jacket. LaVey passed to whatever dark place came next for him after this one a year prior to the release of SEHD. The lyrics on this new release remain cliché-ridden and juvenile. Some of the tracks have a slightly harder sound leant to by a muted guitar playing power chord riffs in the background.

Somber Ebrace, Hollow DeclineThe opening track, Passion, is another plea for love luck. I figured that by two years passing, William might have found some new subject material. Apparently not - and the vocals haven't changed at all either. The next track, Never, has vocals touched heavily with a metallic sound - processed into steel via OE's electronic equipment. For some strange reason, this voice brings up visions of a singing toaster. Don't ask me - I know not where this vision came. In Alone, track 4, you are treated to a comfortable collaboration between the muted guitar, accompanying bass and a breezy keyboard melody. This is probably my favorite track on the album. Even the vocals are deep and pleasant. The droning bass of the following track 5, entitled Descent, is accompanied by a light-edged scraping sample. Vocals here are harsh - a dual melody of spoken words. The two voices used will fight one another vying for dominance and do so by clashing notes and monotonic whispers.

The works of Ominous Erotica is a collection of stories surrounding the frailty of love. The lyrics are cliched and juvenile and very repetitive - even across tracks themselves. Nearly all of OE's work on these two albums could have been distilled down to three or four songs and still provide all the material that William wishes to write about. Electronic keyboards and droning bass are prevalent throughout and the sound of each track is similar to one another in soundscape. There's a lot more that could have been done here - but I think first William needs to go outside. Get some experiences that aren't related to relationships. We have plenty of that already.

Contact Information:
Post: Ominous Erotica, 1115 Marlowe Dr., Apt. B1, Clarksville, IN, 47129