A Searing Punch to the Gut: Obliteration’s Cenotaph Obscure
It comes in on a rumbling rattle of drums, hellish guitars bringing discord, slowly marching the listener into the caustic doom that is waiting. Within a minute we are bathed, fully immersed into this journey to the darkest depths of psychotic despair and, uh, Obliteration. This is dirty, extreme, crushing Death Metal. There’s no cruising here, no melodic niceties to smooth things over, this is a fist to your guts, over and over again, with tiny flourishes here and there to remind you what the sunlight looks like, and how you’re never going to feel it on your face, ever again.
This thing is heavy. Yeah, you can say that about a lot of Metal releases, and it would be true. But this one carries a weight a lot of records don’t. Swirling madness, for one thing, permeates every second. The psychedelic touches only affirm the insanity, rather than giving relief for it. Everything about this is desperate, even in its slower, thumping moments. Nothing is rushed, but you can feel the panic crammed into every nook and cranny. Obliteration has created something special here, something that will take time and effort to unpack. Whether this will lead the listener down further passages of twisting lunacy is another matter altogether. I have the feeling that the more you peel this sweet onion, the juicier it gets.
Label: Indie Recordings
Songs like “Eldritch Summoning” bring all the dynamics; you’ve got some Doom, some wild, riding Thrash, plenty of Death Metal, all combined into this furious churn of melting minds. It never careens fully out of control but man does it ride the rails, threatening to come unhinged at any moment. Other songs, like “Charnal Plains,” further cement this sentiment. Crushing, epic, without ever resulting in cheese or anything less than total darkness. And yeah, don’t think there are not touches of Black Metal in here, stirring the pot, adding that extra element of demented glee.
Uncompromising, detailed, relentless…These are adjectives thrown around so much they lose any real sense of meaning. But they apply here. Not one note is out of place or extraneous. Not one fuck is given. And the pounding only slows down to allow you to catch your breath. It’s like a drawn-out interrogation, where they give you a drink of water before they start working on you again. It’s almost like those brief moments of respite are more torturous than the actual beating itself.
Obliteration have created an Album of the Year experience. Enter only if you have the guts, only if you dare.