Posted by Nick Skog on Friday, February 28, 2014 Under: Album Reviews
From: Volumes of Sin Webzine
Published: February 26, 2014
Initially, Obsidian Tongue was formed as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Brendan Hayter in 2009; however shortly after the formation drummer Greg Murphy joined the now two man group. They later released their initial album, Volume I: Subradiant Architecture via Dissociation Records in 2012; this label has also co-released the band's follow-up endeavor, A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time which was released a little over a year later. What is to be heard within the deep, dark chambers awaiting audiences in this latest atmospheric black metal assault?
A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time is an album that is comprised of equal parts intriguing, bleak, cold calms and violent, raging storms. There are consistent composition and tempo changes throughout all six songs present, each averaging eight minutes or more in length, which causes the listener to feel as though they are experiencing more than just six tracks. From the beginning it's easy to hear the heavy influence newer Enslaved work, as well as Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room, have had on the duo; nevertheless the inlay of this content is a raw, emotional display writhing with life and potential.
It's not exactly easy to describe the musical compositions of Obsidian Tongue without making it sound like your standard blast n' riff black metal with Pagan tendencies, however it's much more than that. While the material has its minor bouts of common tremolo picking and blast beat drumming, there are also inventive tribal drum patterns, flanger guitar effects, double bass kicks, soothing solos and exotic, exploratory cymbal work. Often times the drum track hovers over the guitar and vocal tracks and this trait unfortunately pushes the guitars to the wayside often; although the mixing varies nearly as consistently as the tempos themselves and sometimes the guitar can be heard dominating the drums, but this is rare. The vocals are also found sitting at the back of the mix in most cases, only rising up when chants are abound.
The guitar strums a maze of angry, blazing riffs during the heavier content and during serene escapades it tapers off to acoustic, dissonant picking; such as in the tranquil title track, "A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time", that features Agalloch vocalist John Haughm. It's also at these low-key points that the listener can recognize gentle synths that fill in the void that the drums leave in their absence. The two strings that tie everything together are both the organic vocals and unprocessed production quality of the album itself. One's throat almost begins to hurt while listening to the shrill screams that rip through the large majority of the content, while whispers and soft spoken-words caress some of the mild areas.
The only way this content could possibly get any better is if Obsidian Tongue injected a little more uniqueness into their approach. Most of what is here has already been done before by bands already mentioned in this review; however the duo at hand are definitely on the right track and doing well at conveying the atmosphere that they seek to unleash. More characterizing guitar tones and a more solid mixing could potentially push the next album to newer heights.
Obsidian Tongue have released undeniably compelling material in their second full-length album, A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time. It's a raw, energetic, passionate journey through a bleak and cold atmosphere that captures the spirit of any listener it happens upon; the material lights the occasional fire for warmth through guitar solos, tribal drumming and whispered words. An extremely worthwhile listen for fans of old Opeth and newer Enslaved, and those who enjoy dark, raw atmospheric black metal.
Reviewed by: Villi Thorne
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