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Obsequiae - Aria Of Vernal Tombs Award winner

Aria Of Vernal Tombs
by Danny Sanderson at 11 June 2015, 1:50 AM

Black Metal across the United States can really be summed up with a single word which encompasses the vast majority of its bands; idiosyncrasy. The scene in the US is characterized by several bands who each have their own distinct sound, style and flavor, which has led to plenty of great and diverse music. For this reason, the USA stands as one of the cornerstones of the worldwide Black Metal scene at the moment, producing some really incredible music. OBSEQUIAE are no different either; ever since changing their name from AUTUMNAL WINDS in 2007, the band have gone from strength to strength, first with a great, eponymous demo and later with their first full length, "Suspended In The Brume Of Eos". Now, with the release of their newest, second full length, "Aria of Vernal Tombs", the band looked poised to enter the international Black Metal stage and bring their unique brand of Black Metal, which they blend with medieval harp music, to a much wider audience.

The opening track, "Ay Que Por Muy Gran Fremosura", is a short instrumental piece which immediately showcases just how well they can put the harp music to use. It's a very good track, and uses some atmospheric elements to make this piece even more interesting. It's very clear that Vicente is a very talented musician, and the music he plays here is not only technical and proficient, but also extremely interesting and catchy. It's like the calm before the storm, and it really helps get the listener prepared and excited for what's coming. The first full track on here, "Autumnal Pyre" opens on a great piece of music which gives way to some excellent twin guitar work, which in turn morphs into some very raw, atmospheric Black Metal that is, at points, hair-raisingly good. It's clear that this is more than "just another" Black Metal record. There's a very marked and clear Heavy Metal influence, especially in the guitar playing, and there are some sections that wouldn't sound out of place in a Pagan Black Metal song. It's clear that, even this early into the album, the band are setting themselves a very high bar to overcome with the later tracks. "Until All Ages Fall" is a song that is primarily founded on very powerful, confident guitar lines and pummeling drums. The vocals that top this epic sounding track are a cold, visceral rasp that works very well with the riffs. Again, the instrumentation on here is a nice blend between Black and straight up Heavy Metal, all shrouded in a veil of ambiance that helps to really beef out the sound of this song. Next, we have "L-Amour Dont Sui Espris", another really nice, mellow track made up of Medieval Harp music that helps to break the album up very well, rather than opting to go for a full on, Black Metal assault. Then we get to "Pools of Vernal Paradise", a song that starts out slow, building tension and expectation in the listener until it bursts into life as a fast, impressive Folky Black Metal track which stands as perhaps one of the best and most interesting ones on this whole record. "Anlace And Heart" is another song that utilizes the bands great twin guitar leads and epic Folk elements with the much rawer Black Metal to create a really good, memorable song. "The Anchoress' Orison", another instrumental, harp based track, is another really great track which acts as a prelude to "In The Absence Of Light", a track that sounds absolutely monolithic from the first note to the last. The guitar parts sound fantastic, and are incredibly catchy, the drums are unrelentingly fast, and the vocals act as a great contrast to the more melodic sides of this tune, providing a harsh, eerie rasp that cuts through everything and helps hold the listeners attention throughout. The song eventually fades away until the first notes of "Wilweorthunga" suddenly kick in. This is a very short song that really brings the more melodic elements of the bands sound to the fore, and has some really cool, sweeping leads that make up the vast majority of this song. The albums penultimate track, "Des Oge Mais Quer Eu Trobar", is the last of the short instrumental tracks that are built around Vicente and his Medieval Harp. All of these tracks have sounded amazing, but this one is perhaps one of the best, and really helps to set the tone for the albums closing track, "Orphic Rites Of The Mystic"; this is a song with some really strong, powerful guitar parts and vocally, it sounds brilliant.

The music eventually begins to die away, and the album is sadly over. This is one of the best US Black Metal albums that I've heard in a long while. It's more than "just another" release, and throws a lot of cool ideas into the musical ring, from medieval Folk Music to classic Heavy Metal leads, to produce something that is likely to stick in your memory long after you've heard it. I would thoroughly recommend that everyone give this album a listen. This is the sound of a band that might just take the Black Metal scene in the States by storm in the near future, and considering the veritable cornucopia of excellent bands that are coming from there at the moment, that is no small compliment.

4 Star Rating

1. Ay Que Por Muy Gran Fremosura
2. Autumnal Pyre
3. Until All Ages Fall
4. L.amour Dont Sui Espris
5. Pools Of A Vernal Paradise
6. Anlace and Heart
7. The Anchoress' Orison
8. In The Absence Of Light
9. Wilweorthunga
10. Des Oge Mais Quer Eu Trobar
11. Orphic Rites Of The Mystic
Tanner Anderson - Vocals & Guitars & Bass

Vicente La Camera Marino - Medieval Harp

Andrew Della Cagna - Drums & Bass
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin


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Edited 24 September 2020

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