Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obscure - On Formaldehyde (2008)

Obscure is the new band fronted by former Enslaved guitarist Roy Kronheim, a hybrid of traditional doom and power metal with an exciting retro vibe. The vocals range from the higher register reminiscent of St. Vitus or other Sabbath-derived doom metal bands, with the occasional Tom G. Warrior grunt. The melodies are lean and mean, prepare for a balls out rocking.

"Conversensation" breaks the ice with some straight laced old school doom, and by doom I don't mean slow and boring, but a series of chords selected for both their nostalgic feeling and primal Sabbath grooves. "Methamorphosis" cuts in with a wall of groove akin to running a truck over your kneecaps, the use of dual vocals here are very trippy, almost as if Ozzy, Pink Floyd and Clutch were jamming after an herbal session. "Veins of Steel" is faster fueled, like punkish bluesy doom metal with a nice four chord selection which cuts away for speedier thrashing metal riffs akin to Venom. The deep magic of "Abra Macabra" is more than enough to stone you like a mother fucking crow, without any need for sedative substances outside your own psyche. Other standout numbers are the plodding "Giants", the hippy slugfest "Subserialist", and the wild grooving out on "Abraxas".

This is the perfect get high type of record, for its nostalgic influence, yet there is a witty and modern edge to the lyrics which stands Obscure apart. Still, if you value your traditional flavored doom: Cathedral, The Obsessed, St. Vitus, Witchcraft, etc. then you'll find the Norse equivalent has arrived. It could be catchier, and a few tracks are lucklaster compared to others, but it's a fine start. Good to hear Kronheim throwing down some good material post-Enslaved, and I hope we get more.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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