Posted by Nick Skog on Friday, February 28, 2014 Under: Album Reviews
From: Transcending Obscurity Webzine
Published: February 25, 2014
Hypnotic Dirge Records has got some fascinating bands under its roof, among the lukewarm groups comprising the label's roster. The more I explore the various releases bearing the Hypnotic Dirge logo, the more I realize I have been missing out some of the action this fine label has been offering. First, I was blown away by Galaktik Cancer Squad's ‘Ghost Light’, and now this album, the second full length by American band Obsidian Tongue, that holds me captive, ensnaring me with its eclecticism and esoteric attributes associated with the recording.
Dark shoegaze-y sound wash welcomes the listener with a dichotomy of alien vs. familiar sound waves, where black metal and post-rock collide, the musical air becomes in no time dense and dank with effective, vitriolic yet wonderfully melodic riffs accompanied by gritty and excellent vocals; and as soon as you might think here comes another Wolves In The Throne Room clone -- what with the very similar opening riff following the epilogue -- the album wastes no time in taking an abrupt turn, finding quickly its own path to tread.
The true highlights of the album, as far as I'm concerned, are not the highly developed and thought-out blackgaze compositions -- those are beautiful and captivating in their own right -- but rather the occasional pauses, where amidst the metallic maelstrom the music gives way to sombre folk-ish ballads, surreal and velvety, sung in the most hypnotizing clear voice imagined a-la Woods Of Ypres, often in a choir-like fashion, darkening with these unbridled melancholic dirges the already metaphysically blackened streaks embedded into the album's foundations.
The band mostly shines during the slower parts, where their atmosphere-inducing capabilities are exploited to the maximum, but even when the band delve into the distinctive black metal etiquette, displaying the wall of sound, fast drumming, screeching vocals and tremolo-picked riffs formula, they still very much sound like a sweet, rotten nightmare; ever inventive, alluring, sensual and mysteriously magical.
Echoing a plethora of influences and attitudes, from Ulver's and Arcturus' clean singing folk-oriented / neoclassical interludes, through Agalloch's naturalistic, pagan soundscapes conjuring nothing but pure natural beauty of the elements, to Wolves In The Throne Room's majestic crudeness, ‘A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time’ gathers those fine musical entities under one roof and extrapolates the music of those influential, creative minds, carefully fusing them so they become one, singular, indivisible creation that follows its own paved road to unknown reaches of pure magic and unhealthy beauty.
In the end, Obsidian Tongue did manage to articulate a voice that is very much their own, despite the blatant influences that are plain for all to hear. The complexity of the written songs, their colorful and vibrant nature, the coldness that blows from their direction coupled with the searing, scorching heat of the occasional sun-baked, nirvana-inducing moments of total bliss -- these elements stitched together by beyond-apt musicians, culminate in an orgasm on the ears that spreads malevolently to the other parts of the body.
Equipped with poetically enigmatic textual material that is of the highest quality a metal band can provide, ‘A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time’ is a fine musical product whose inherent atmospheric, aggressive progressiveness is naturally intertwining with elemental yet gorgeous black metal of the exquisite, sophisticated and philosophical kind; a tool of transcendence, if there ever was one, having no boundaries; fluid and ethereal but also cohesive and robust, predominantly harmonious and melodic to the extreme without sounding whiny or effeminate by any means.
This album comes as highly recommended for the thinking metal aficionados out there, who crave to hear something totally different...yet fundamentally familiar.
Reviewed by: Chaim Drishner
In : Album Reviews
Tags: obsidian tongue nest of ravens throat of time atmospheric primal organic black metal massachusetts john haughm agalloch subradiant architecture autolatry alda panopticon falls of rauros