Obdurate/Unto Death (Reissue)
posted on 9/2008 By:
I hate black metal albums like this.
First of all, this isn’t even an actual album, it’s an EP and an old demo slapped together under the guise of a full length. Striborg, another band that I loathe, is also guilty of this deceptive practice and it really bugs the shit out of me. It's fine if you don’t wanna spend the three weeks it probably takes bands like this to write some songs, but don’t try and tell us that this is a "new" album when it's really just a glorified compilation. All in the name of the whole “release as many things per year as possible” game I guess.
There’s no intensity here. None. Zero. In terms of sound, Azrael plays much like a buzzier Xasthur, complete with repetitive plodding tempos, totally irrelevant vocals, and a complete lack of focus. Even when the horrible blasting comes in to try and lend some weight to the material, it comes off as sluggish and uninspired. The guys in this band can call their music “psychadelic” and “avante-garde” all they want, but this is still black metal; there has to be SOME energy, some element of aggression present, or else any feeling and emotion is lost. These tracks just sort of plod along in a completely passive manner, moving in and out of different morose passages without any regard for cohesion. Occasionally some clean guitar and more assertive and memorable riffs surface, but by that time I’m too bored to care. Velvet Cacoon is much more subdued and unsettling than this band, and they manage to be way more deep and enthralling than this.
The production also sucks. In a bad way, not a cool, evil way. The guitars are so trebly and distorted that it's impossible to hear what is being played half the time on the Obdurate side, rendering the riffs obsolete, and things aren’t improved on the Unto Death portion. The keyboards probably sound the best out of all the instruments, with some fairly nice melodies surfacing below the haze in “Obdurate”, but it's nothing mindblowing by any means. The vocals are nothing more than your standard "tortured" wails and roars, drenched in so much reverb as to render them totally pointless. The blasbeats in the Unto Death side make me want to end my life. Quickly.
So overall, we have a boring, unenergetic, poorly produced compilation of two old releases by a black metal band that was never anything special to begin with. I have nothing against slower, more layered takes on black metal, but Obdurate/Unto Death is so banal and indistinct that I can barely summon the energy to listen start to finish. This album can be mildly enjoyable as simple background noise, but those who wish to dig deeper will only find a lot of directionless songwriting and poor musicianship. I really can’t recommend this to anyone with all the other great black metal coming out of the U.S. alone these days, let alone the world at large. Do not spend money on this.
Register to post comments.
Act III: Self... Act IV: Goat (2 Discs)
Into Shadows Act II: Through Horned Shadows Glimpse