No sooner am I back from one journey, am I to be sent on another. As I return to my humble abode I push hard against the door and move the mountain of cascading demos that have fallen through my mail slot. As I’m greeted by my hounds pulling and clawing at my robes, I quickly usher them to calm and deal with their ferocious appetites.
Once the abode has calmed I collect the bundles of cassettes and letters and slowly ascend the staircase to my subterranean lair. As I light the candles and incense and try and generate some sort of homely feel to my Lair I flick through the bundle of cassette-shaped packages however one, in particular, captures my eye. One with several U.S. postal marks and a jet-black wax seal on the reverse. The penmanship on the front denoting my address is exquisite, something I feel has been lost over the years.
As I open it gently not breaking the wax seal I slide the cassette out. I peer into the envelope for any remaining information pertaining to the cassette but nothing. As I look for a further adjoining letter in the pile I finally find it. Marked is the Death Prayer logo. Now it makes sense. The letter inside reads “Obsidian – Into the Depths of the Shadow” a brief description and that it’s a one-man U.S. project. That is all. As I sit and scratch my skull I think to myself well I guess ill search a little more. My appetite has indeed been wet. I fire up my useless computer in the corner. As i trawl the tinterweb I find zilch info. Now I’m all for one-man acts being reclusive and mysterious however, this is taking it to a new level. So it looks like I’m staying home for this one. As I get myself comfy amongst the dust and cobwebs that adorn my hovel, I set out my parchment and refill my ink.
As I place the Ornate cassette into my Walkman and roll a cigarette I prepare myself to go on a journey one that is more musically based than my usual gliding across the ever-expanding ethereal plain.
Track one “The Frigid Glare of The Wintermoon” starts with the sound of howling swirling winds before the notes and chords of an Organ slowly seep through the atmospheric soundscape. Suddenly we get a glimpse of the entity’s vocals. Rasping and melancholic much the same as the tone of the keys, I await the sound of the ripping guitars and blast beats however there is none. It is just vocals and an organ. This sends chills down my already exposed spine. As I look around at my Lair I wonder just what keep this was recorded in. It would appear this entity has beaten all to the punch. Draped in opulence with the rich tonality of the notes played this track lets you into something truly dark and oppressive and I for one am here for it. There are no parlour tricks to this, it chills you to your very essence just submerging yourself into the sheer atmosphere created. The musicianship is pure quality and just choosing to use samples of howling winds etc and the organ plus vocals means this track delivers on all levels.
Track two “Walking the Path of Death” opens with another sample of heavy rain, thunder and swirling winds. Again the sound of the organ comes in and harrowing screams follow. This is much rawer in style than the previous track. However, it matches both the title and the background soundscape that flows through the track. Again the musicianship on this is stunning. To find an entity this competent in their playing ability without making it sound too cheesy, which as you know many are guilty of is just a manner of sheer perfection. Every note and chord plus anguished scream folds and envelops into one another perfectly. The atmosphere on both tracks so far has soaked in and created a vision in which you picture so much.
Track three “Sequence Il” opens with yet more chilling winds, as the deep chords resonate around my skull the shrills and screams come through. With a much lighter piano tone the vocals are whatares used to create the darker and evil tones. The piano work is very dramatic in the style of playing and now the sound of synths slowly just dulls those piano keys and comes to the forefront. Once again not making it sound cartoon this track combines the two instruments well and creates a stunning dark and dense atmosphere.
Track four “A Faded Memory” is a purely an instrumental track that conjures just what the title suggests. This beautifully melancholic track has beautiful light moments while still retaining the sorrow and hurt in every note played. Once again this is exquisitely played and is a very moving piece honestly if I had working tear ducts a slight tear would’ve been shed. Beauty can certainly be had in such sorrowful music. This truly has the ability to strike hard into the blackest of souls.
Track five “Blood Ritual Il” is the shortest track on this stunning album of sermons. Once again an instrumental track but more what I’d class as an outro to this short yet incredibly deep release. The talent on the keys is truly once again exposed to its fullest. Dripping in pure sorrow and woefulness this track closes the album seamlessly. It captures and conveys darkness in an almost symphonic and classic way.
As I sink back into my ornate wooden chair and gaze around my lair I get the overwhelming feeling that this is the best breed of raw Vampyric black metal going. I know that there is a plethora of bands at the moment and every man and his dog is trying to perfect that traditional horror/ vampire sound. Believe me, I’ve heard many and without sounding too critical some are still verging on the cartoon-esque vibes of this. This entity and the music he’s produced have lifted the veil off and delivered on every aspect. There are no frills, no frilly poetry or lyrics of old. It’s just stunning. It captures an element of darkness and truth rarely found in these releases. It’s almost like this has been written by a true creature of the night. None of this slightly creepy hammer horror-type stuff. This is sheer bleakness and anguish on every level. So to the entity and the music behind Obsidian, I bow to you and the feat you have accomplished.
Darkest Hails #Foras #LordOfTheShadows.