Posted by Nick Skog on Friday, July 26, 2013 Under: Album Reviews
From: The Sonic Sensory
Published: July 24, 2013
Enjoy the finer side of aging beauties… it won’t be beautiful forever, but it will never be ‘ugly’.
It’s no laughing matter, Obsidian Tongue has been well around the block. They might not have an extensive albums list, but the band has seen enough of the metal world to make ends meet in their own distinct manner. If anything has been set in stone it’s the fact that you’ll be hearing from Obsidian Tongue’s music for years to come. For too long metal has become over-saturated, overwrought by the infinite number of acts that shift their focus from one project to the next without letting full ideas form. This rushing distinguishes those who have some to offer and something spectacular to amaze. Obsidian Tongue’s ‘A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time’ is an album that fulfills the expectations created by stereotypes, but they don’t just sit idle, Obsidian Tongue’s ‘A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time’ is bolstered by atmosphere and a tumultuous instrumental effort. For those wondering which direction this working force of atmospheric black metal went, well the truth’s in the listening.
As far as atmospheric black metal goes, there’s almost nothing to report. It’s in no way a revolutionary recording, nor does it bend any of the boundaries of the genre, instead, A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time is exactly how a modern black metal record should sound. It’s good to hear that some bands have embraced the genres and tags they work under, there is less emphasis on “wooing” listeners with frilly, going nowhere over-the-top flamboyant-isms and more of a focus on groups doing exactly what they need to create an enjoyable listen. Yes, there’s melody, and yes there’s all these other interesting little tid-bits that create and maintain the listeners’ attention throughout the entity of the record. It’s not like an album with non-stop blast beats and shrieking demonic vocals can really hold the attention of the metal community any more, that ship has more-or-less sailed. Regardless, Obsidian Tongue are definitely doing things their way. One moment you’ll be swept away in a pummeling display of raw-ish black metal only to be transfixed by the melancholic movements peppered throughout the album’s run-time. It’s melodic, and even a little graceful when the music fights a battle of contrast. The title track of ‘A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time’ is a definite album highlight. It’s a pity that the track closes the album, but the combined efforts of the Obsidian Tongue line-up and that of Agalloch’s John Haughm whose expertise in the darker mystique of black metal becomes clear in an instant. He adds a rather expansive, almost psychedelic sound to the album, the atmosphere shifts towards a darker setting and the album closes in a gale force of sound.
But that’s not the only high point for the band’s 2013 release. There are tracks from start to finish all worthy of attention that build upon the Obsidian Tongue legacy. Tracks like ‘My Hands Were Made To Hold The Wind’ display a musical awareness, an increasing melody builds into the foundations of the track before the verse lines thunder the band’s contextual vices home. It’s powerful, remorseless, but fair. The track doesn’t push anything that doesn’t fit, and everything has its place within the structure of the album. This allows the album to have a smooth transition between tracks. Yes, at times, the mood does feel a little ‘samey’ but it’s not without enough going on to maintain the interest of the listener through the entity of the record. Each section of the record tells a story, it conveys tales of anguish, misery, loss, anger, seperation and rage – but it’s not overbearing in any way. The references are subtle, allowing for the listener to relate to the music at an almost primal level. It’s not everyday you can listen to a black metal record and ‘feel’ in one way or another what’s going on.
Overall, Obsidian Tongue’s 2013 record is a chameleon, shifting into sonic equilibrium’s in order to reach out to the band’s listeners and fans. It contrasts and shifts key features into direct focus. The run-time is never an issue and it’s fifty-two minute length flies by, even with the average of nine minutes per each track (to some this might indeed sound like a long run time per track) but for the most part, each sonic affair matches completely to the next track until the album closes with the title track. ’A Nest Of Ravens In The Throat Of Time’ is devastatingly pure, eerily tranquil and has the melodic equivalent of a modern symphonic rock album. It’s fair to say that this is a great release, but one can’t help to notice that there is still room to grow for a band whose only just released their sophomore record. That’s not to say that this is a bad release (in fact, I’ve already said otherwise), rather it’s another display of wanted potential for a group still earning their stripes. They’re not far off, and a classic atmospheric black metal record is only around the corner. Just like a vintage fine wine, it’s only going to get better as time progresses, it’s just a matter of when you would like to taste such perfection and can perfect become more perfect?
Reviewed by: Robert Garland
In : Album Reviews
Tags: obsidian tongue nest of ravens throat of time atmospheric primal prganic black metal massachusetts john haughm agalloch subradiant architecture autolatry alda panopticon falls of rauros