Obsequiae - _Suspended in the Brume of Eos_
(Bindrune Recordings, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (7.5 out of 10)
Photographs of medieval tapestries and overgrown castles adorn Obsequiae's simple but evocative packaging, providing the perfect visual accompaniment for their unique approach to extreme music. Blondel de Nesle's studies in 13th century harp composition have clearly paid off, lending the band's melodies an eccentric, electrified-bard quality, as if some advanced and benevolent king invited Brave Sir Robin's minstrels inside to plug in a turn up. Those boys are pissed about running away and they won't do it anymore.

All joking aside, there's no other metal that sounds like this: the ancient authenticity of a North Sea privateer's ship ghosting the shores of the Isle centuries after every crewman met his end, which is simultaneously so aware of modern heavy music. That such melodically rich guitar leads can exist within an extreme structure without becoming (blurgk...) power metal speaks volumes of the band members' dedication to both their academic pursuits and their crafting of sonic darkness. There's an embarrassment of songwriting skill and technique all over _Suspended in the Brume of Eos_. The album is an adventure in every sense, taking listeners on a journey in which all motion forward and sideways is necessary to accomplish the grand experience.

Lots of bands, specifically of the black metal variety, proclaim atavism and cultural sensitivity, but Obsequiae legitimately entwine the trappings of an earlier time with a spirit of aggression and true passion for their style. The conceit never wears out nor overplays its hand, but consistently adds enough flavor to the fare to distinguish the black thrashings on offer from their peers similarly minded attempts. Certainly the acoustic passages, while pretty and poignant, don't butt well against their burning-at-the-stake counterparts, and greater attention to transitional tissue would serve the album well in accomplishing a fully jointed forty minutes of minstrel metal. But such minor deficiencies are unable to derail what is surely one of the most interesting artifacts to find harmonic continuity between the years 1211 and 2011 so successfully.

Contact: http://www.bindrunerecordings.com/

(article published 15/1/2012)


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