|CD REVIEW Obzidian|
A decade ago, some high school friends started to jam together, mixing grooving melodies with thrashy brutality. Throughout the years, and based on increasing experience, the style became groovier and catchier. Unfortunately, despite a certain growing experience, these Englishmen’s first record wasn’t but a doubtable and somewhat infantile self-called (mini) album. It saw the light in 2007 through Casket Music. Playing lots of live gigs bettered their cohesion, and that’s probably the main reason why the sophomore album, Damned Eternal, sounds more coherent than Obzidian’s debut was.
In comparison to that nameless mini-debut, Damned Eternal sounds much better, going for both the song writing / performance (see next) as well as the production. The latter: massive and powerful, skull-crushing sound, torturing man’s ear drums with sadistic pleasure. Opening instrumental intro “21.15” goes on in the same groovy vein of the past, yet with a very powerful mid-tempo rhythm and a catchy yet blistering melody. And this isn’t just a first lucky shot. Next track, “The Murder Song”, goes much further than it ever did in the past (and this goes, by the way, for the bigger part of the songs on this album). The combination of ultra-heavy Groove Metal with modern elements that dwell within regions of Metalcore/ Post-Thrash, as well as the injection of Doom-laden melodies, sleazy Rock’n’Roll rhythmics, and a slightly epic approach, crushes my worst expectations mercilessly. And what’s more, this time the band comes with an own approach, with more variation, and with more than just a hand full of original ideas. The variation goes for the tempo, which dwells in between pounding slow to rather fast (yet never blasting and nervo-speed-up), for the melodies (sometimes straight-ahead, then more technical, or melodious), for the vocal additions (a dirty-grunting throat in general, yet with some clean and harmonious voices included), for the acoustic parts and the progressive elements, etc. Another remarkable fact is the duration of the tracks: in between three and sixteen minutes (eight tracks, over an hour in totality; three of them over ten minutes).
For fans of: I guess almost everything in between Bleeding Through, All That Remains, Devildriver, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, The Human Condition, Chimaera or Scarpoint, and the likes of (trap) them...