Black Death Horizon

Written by: EW on 03/01/2014 22:50:09

Norwegians Obliteration come with quite the underground reputation these days following recommendations from a few noteworthy figures in the scene and by luck of residence in Kolbotn, a town put on the metal map by one Darkthrone, as well as their shared membership with the equally hyped Nekromantheon. As I commented in the review of their "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" last year, the music of these two bands is so unequivocally borne from a bunch of metal obsessives as to put much else currently being released today to shame (I might add the two bands do share members). It may not be the tidiest or best-written album of the year, but it simply oozes fire, passion and commitment; facets which alone make the album worthy of recommendation to any death metal fan worth their salt. For all DM's predilection for clinical speed and brutality, nothing quite sounds the real deal as does a dirty, unpleasant album devoid of triggers and over-production. Not surprisingly this cocktail is often the deal breaker for fair-weather fans of the genre to take their leave; if that is not you, do read on.

The slow, doomy opening to "The Distant Sun (They Are The Key)" is disconcerting - it breeds anticipation of the pounding that is soon to follow. This increase in tempo is one of the charms of Obliteration, who do much more than stagnate at one tempo throughout, the benefit of which is how the slow periods emphasise the fast, and vice-versa, to prevent the album from waning throughout a 42-minute duration as well as giving a feel of the sum being greater than it's eight parts. "Goat Skull Crown" which begins at a higher tempo pulsates with its references to old Kreator and the likes before slowing down in the middle section with eerie chord combinations that Tribulation have used very much to their favour. During this break the usual throaty snarl of Sindre Solem is temporarily replaced by clean choral 'spooky' vocals that do their bit to persuade the listener Obliteration might just be up to something here. "Sepulchral Rites" is a blaze of intent which like much else balances out the two buzzing guitars with a distinctly audible bass sound against the various drum rolls performed by Kristian Valbo, facets whose power would have been greatly reduced by a stereotypical modern production. As it is, the changes in speed dotted throughout this song raise the quality of writing so far above the norm for a band of this genre that it would be embarrassing to refer a number of big name DM acts of today against these young Norwegians.

The title track takes a slower approach to deathly victory, making it's near eight minutes pass in a blur before the finger-tapping lead that opens the albums' final track, "Churning Magma", chills the air with its gloomy premonitions leading into an ominous closing ceremony for the album. With just seven tracks each feels like the result of considerable revision and battle-hardened ambition with very little in the way of filler to be found. The focus of "Black Death Horizon" is as much forwards as the more obvious backwards analysis it displays - the considerable nods to death and thrash metal's pasts are combined with a focus on individuality and performance which sees the album excel in almost all stakes. Death metal was borne to sound like this nearly 30 years later.


Download: Goat Skull Crown, Sepulchral Rites, Ascendance
For The Fans Of: Nekromantheon, Tribulation, Grave Miasma, Autopsy
Listen: Facebook

Release date: 08.11.2013
Indie Records

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