The Grotesque Presage

Written by: PP on 08/09/2010 03:34:03

Here's another Canadian death metal band, this time a better and more interesting one than the band I reviewed just before them. The name is Obsydian, and they originate from the hyper-active Nova Scotia scene, which houses a mighty amount of great bands in almost all genres known to man. I guess when it's fuckin' cold and miserable 80% of the year, you turn to music for your inspiration. Anyway, the band shamelessly lists a massive number of ever band worth something in death metal circles as their influences. Most of these aren't audible in their sound, however, which mostly references seminal acts like Death while also throwing in a decent amount of thrash metal ideas for good measure. And get this; their songs have an almost progressive nature, as seen by the opening track "Blastocyst Assassination", which runs at a little over six and a half minutes. Cool.

But thinking this has anything to do with Opeth and the likes is completely incorrect. While "Indoctrinated", the second track on the album, stretches well beyond the five minute mark as well, it only has brief atmospheric sections, staying on traditional death metal territory for most of the time. Lighting speed thrash metal solos and a fast tempo throughout justify thin parallels to bands like Exodus, albeit the mood is much more blackened than those guys'. The riffs are lowly tuned and brutal, following the unwritten laws of death metal, but offer lots of variation and memorable moments to keep the lengthy songs interesting. The importance of adding a small amounts of melody hasn't been ignored either. But the most interesting aspect of "The Grotesque Presage" is definitely Obsydian's ability to write mammoth length songs that don't wither too far away from death metal, but don't lose the listener in the progress either. The lengthy, technically superb solos and a solid rhythm section pretty much guarantee that alongside extended instrumental only passages which give the songs important breathing room. This allows the songs to grow on the listener, as he/she can spend time absorbing and reflecting the full experience instead of being overrun by a freight train like is the case on many other death metal releases.

So by that note, should I really rather label Obsydian as a progressive death metal band? Perhaps, but they spend less time in grandeur composition than on ear-bruising death metal sections that have merely been fine tuned to a great extent. The inspirations are there, sure, but instead of cloning these, Obsydian interprets them differently, imbuing bits and pieces and making these their own. One thing is evident throughout, however. "The Grotesque Passage" is a different death metal album, for once, whose only serious pitfall is that in the end, it is maybe twenty or thirty minutes too long to keep the listener on board in one full album session.

Download: The Apocrypha, Indoctrinated, The Grotesque Presage
For the fans of: Death, Testament, Exodus, Arsis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.04.2010

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