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Obzerv – Acherontia Atropos

Obzerv
Acherontia Atropos
by Santiago Puyol at 01 May 2019, 4:54 AM

OBZERV are a Greek Modern Metal band with clear Prog Metal influences and even a hint of Math Rock and Post Rock here and there. They are an unsigned band with tons of potential formed on 2011. “Acherontia Atropos” is their second album, after their self-titled debut released on 2014. Their approach to Prog-inspired songwriting avoids some of the usual clichés of the genre. They prefer shorter songs that manage to be quite accessible to lengthy, overtly complex, ever-changing songs. Most of the tracks here stick to the three-to-five minute formula, with only one of them approaching mini-epic stature: nine-and-a-half minute centerpiece, “Overthrown”.

The album gets started right out off the bat with “That Defining Moment”, a groovy track filled with intricate drumming and a deep bass sound. It features a noisy, wailing guitar solo that makes a great first impression. “Apex Predator” follows next; an aggressive, energetic song that keep things moving. The bass-drum work throughout “Apex” is remarkable, a highlight for Manos Nazlis“Mother Nature is a Serial Killer” is the second longest song, being a little over six minutes and thirty seconds. It slows down things just for a little with its PORCUPINE TREE-like soft intro. The guitar work by Giannis Leledakis and John Mor is impeccable, reaching an impressive synth-like sound. “Nature” is one of the proggiest tracks here, changing quite a lot in comparison with other songs, ending with a lovely middle eastern-tingled outro.

Properly titled “Agitated” gets quite playful with time signatures and features intense, machine gun-like guitar riffing. A soft, tom-tom and hi-hat driven passage in the middle of the song keeps things very interesting, adding some icy ambiance from textured guitar work. “Overthrown” follows, breaking the album in halves and feeling in a way, as a separate entity from the rest of the record. Having the longest song in the middle of the record isn’t as typical as having it be the opening or closing song, but it fits here, changing the pace in a way. “Overthrown” features several tempo and time signature changes, so the track never feels too long. There some truly complex and intricate drumming overall, but the blast beat assault around five and a half minutes is one of the highlights here. The shredding guitar solo amidst the chaos is another one.

The second half of the record is a little more experimental in a way, although there are some missed opportunities in it. Examples of this are the BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME-esque random jazzy breakdown on “Thought and Voice”, the poly-rhythmic intro to “Desensitise” or the too short, post-rockish, vaguely EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY-sounding, “Stage Chrysalis”. The latter is the one that disappoints the most, as it ends up building towards nothing when it could have been easily expanded into a proper track or build into an intro to aggressive closer “Plot Twist”. Most of “Acherontia Atropos” sticks with harsh vocals, and I feel this is an astute choice by the band. Although cleans are used too little to truly judge, they are not as consistently good as the harsh vocals when used. For some reason I was reminded of Loïc Rossetti from German band, THE OCEAN, by Nikos Marinakis vocals, which in my book is high praise.

The production is very adept, fits the mood and the sound of the band really well, and although the mixing could be a little more “bassy” for liking, it’s quite notable. “Acherontia Atropos” is a solid sophomore record from a band that still seems to be searching for its own voice, but closer to getting there. A step in the right direction.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. That Defining Moment
2. Apex Predator
3. Mother Nature Is a Serial Killer
4. Agitated
5. Overthrown
6. Thought and Voice
7. Desensitise
8. Stage Chrysalis
9. Plot Twist
Lineup:
Giannis Leledakis – Guitar
John Mor – Guitar
Petros Leledakis – Bass, Backing vocals
Manos Nazlis – Drums
Nikos Marinakis – Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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