Obsidian Tongue

A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time

Written by: MST on 20/09/2013 00:00:55

The American black metal scene is thriving these days. Not only are lots of bands popping up all over the country, many of them are also really good. Obsidian Tongue is yet another name in this USBM uprising. Formed in 2009, the band currently consists of drummer Greg Murphy and guitarist/vocalist Brendan James Hayter. Stylistically Obsidian Tongue clearly take inspiration from two quite different bands from their country, namely Agalloch and Wolves In The Throne Room. The duo released their debut album last year, and now they've returned only a year later with "A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time".

The Agalloch comparison is perhaps the most fitting, as the sound is rich and varied, with clean vocals here and there and even a guest appearance from Agalloch's John Haughm himself as he provides all vocals in the title track that ends the album. That track is pretty much complete Agalloch worship, so while it is a very good track it deviates from the rest of the album which has its own identity. The songs are generally built around Hayter's riffs, some of which are absolutely excellent. Combined with Murphy's drum work which ranges from textured slow to mid tempo drumming to double kick and blastbeats in some of the faster songs and Hayter's ordinary but fitting shrieking vocals and occasional clean vocals here and there, Obsidian Tongue have brewed up a great sound from a very simple recipe. Granted, some songs are stronger than others, but as a full listening experience nothing strikes me as being decidedly weak on the album.

Most of the album is built up in similar ways. "My Hands Were Made to Hold the Wind" is the shortest track on the album at just under 8 minutes, yet somehow it feels the longest, but in a good way. It keeps changing, from the subtle, almost calming sections where the riffs lead the listener on a dreamy journey narrated by the vocals to the slow beats of the drums, through short bursts of intensity woven into the calming sections before it slowly builds up like a post rock song until it reaches its climax with some great riffs ending the song. As a whole, the album can sort of be divided in this way as well, as the 7 songs before the title track vary back and forth in terms of intensity and emotion.

With nothing to complain about in terms of production either, I find myself thoroughly enjoying "A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time". Granted, Obsidian Tongue's second album is fairly standard in style with no real surprises, but when the result is as good as this there's no need for anything spectacular. Fans of especially American atmospheric black metal, but also black metal in general should look this way immediately.

8

Download: Brothers in the Stars, My Hands Were Made to Hold the Wind, A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time
For The Fans Of: Agalloch, Winterfylleth, Wolves In The Throne Room
Listen:

Release date: 29.07.2013
Hypnotic Dirge Records

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