Obscura and The Devil’s Blood

I picked up a couple of new albums recently that I’m really excited about. Both are complete opposite ends of the metal spectrum, but excellent in their own ways.

The first album is Cosmogenisis by Obscura. Apparently there is a rule in the world of metal that states if you play technical progressive death metal, then sci-fi/space must be a major subject for the music. I glean this information not from the lyrics themselves (which are mostly unintelligible), but from album artwork, which is usually pretty telling. It actually makes sense, because it allows these artists to explore funky sounding effects, vocoder vocals and the like. In Obscura’s case, the bassist – Jerden Paul Thesseling – coaxes some of the most amazing sounds I’ve ever heard out of his bass guitar. On the whole, the album is reminiscent of later Death (the song Incarnated in particular sounds uncannily like Death’s Secret Face in the beginning), Cynic, and perhaps a little Opeth. Obscura does an excellent job of mixing things up, so much so that the album gets a little too diverse at times. There are very few weak songs, however, and overall it is an outstanding album from an exciting band. Right now, my pick for best album of ’09.

The next album I picked up a couple of weeks ago is Come, Reap by The Devil’s Blood. If this album can be categorized as metal (which I’m not convinced it can be), it would have to be on the cusp of that 70’s era hard rock and metal (admittedly blurry) fault line. Their Myspace page classifies them as “vintage rock music in the vein of Roky Erickson, Black Widow, Coven, Black Sabbath and a rich plethora of sixties and seventies underground psychedelic rock bands too numerous to mention”. Indeed, The Devil’s Blood sounds like they could have played alongside any of those bands, and held their own. If I didn’t know this album was new, I would have assumed the release date to be sometime in the 70’s. That’s partly because of the band’s music, and partly because of the retro production values. Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. This album is beautifully haunting and catchy, with a spooky and haunting feel to it. It definitely helps that the lyrics are very pseudo-satanic and cultish. It conjures up a very specific memory of listening to King Diamond’s Them in my room as a teenager, and thinking “If satan does exist, this is his messenger”. That’s a good feeling, by the way.

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~ by mikehill25 on May 14, 2009.

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