Don’t shoot ME, I’m only the messenger- This is a spiritual journey.
Here are words to describe Olivia Hadjiioannou, otherwise known as OH.:
Obsessive. Thorough. Perfectionistic. Musician. Artist. Driven. Thoughtful. Reflective. Spiritual. Brilliant. Profound. Guide. Provocateur. Prophetic. Seeker. Thinker. Student. Teacher.
It’s important to know this when listening to “Metallia”, and no, it has no relationship with a heavy metal outfit you may have heard of in other sectors.
“Metallia” is the third album released by Ms. H. with her musical career apparently taking wings in her childhood. She is a multi-instrumentalist from Greece.
Titles and concepts in this fairly short EP are drawn from alchemy, and although I am not a scholar of that lore, nor of C. G. Jung, Ms. H. does appear to be one.
Therefore, for better or worse, I found myself doing some background reading on alchemy and some of the terms mentioned in explanatory materials Ms. H. provided.
Although the entire EP is around 25 minutes duration, it is a dense, complex work that made me work for it. A lot.
Every minute of the background study and the multiple listenings were well-worth it. Although musically far distant from that found in “Orbitas” from Chilean band TRYO, I thought the intentions and concerns of each are closely related.
OK. Back to that term “Spiritual Journey”.
Ms. H. explicitly states her intentions are to take listeners on “a six-part journey to extract from your mind pure visions, to mend your mental pictures, preen presumptions and to elicit an element of the unexpected”. because that is what will transmute your subliminal mind map into a remarkable blueprint which will lead you from wherever you are now, to wherever you want to be.”
She uses ancient alchemical terms and ideas in the titles and subtitles to illustrate this journey. I think it’s commendable that Ms. H. took considerable time and energy, as well, to describe and illuminate these concepts in her website.
The quest for the “Philosopher’s Stone” is the stated aim, and in essence that means becoming spiritually integrated and aware, able to transcend forces that attempt to crush and destroy the human spirit.
An old saying from the recovery world goes something like this: We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having human experiences.
For me, this album focused on that idea.
Now, the music.
Cacophonous, complex, illustrative, dense, awash in radiance, terrifying, challenging- all of it driven by the taut, ferocious guitar work and instrumental mastery demonstrated by Ms. H.
Waves of feminine choral sounds weave in and out of the tapestry, washes of intensity rarely relenting, leading me to recall why at one point in my younger days I was strongly drawn to consider using psychedelic drugs. Mind expansion, spirit expansion. Transcendence. Enlightenment.
I thought the music must be considered a language of its own, and interpreting another’s language is risky and delicate.
Yet, if you do take time to listen and not only listen, but HEAR, you will be rewarded, even, perhaps, transformed.
5 out of 5 precious gems.