Tech Death Thursday: Obastra
When all the slams are gone, what is left? Obastra actually have an answer to that question. Weird.
- The Last of Lucy have a new song streaming over at It Djents. I promise the song will cause you much less pain than reading that sentence did. Look for Ashvatta on November 17th if you want some groovy, jazzy tech death.
- There’s a new Corpse Garden album on the way from Godz ov War due out November 24th, and the song they put out is one of the best damn things you’re going to hear today.
- Redemptor are also putting out a new album at the end of November, this one due on the 30th on Selfmadegod. “Éminence Grise,” their newest single, definitely brings the beef.
Bandcamp tag diving is the gift that keeps on giving, and this week’s gift is Obastra. I know nothing about these guys outside of the blurb on their shop, and that tells us they used to be a slam band. Apparently their slams were so successful that they had to move away from the genre, as the idea of expanding upon perfection is pointless at best and arrogant at worst. Either that, or they were the worst slam band ever and decided to try their hand at something else so as not to continue embarrassing themselves. In any case, they’ve moved on to greener pastures in the world of progressive death metal.
At first blush, Mosaic sounds like a pretty far cry from the band’s sledgehammer-hefting roots. It starts off on a somber note with “Spiritwalker,” a brief instrumental track that sets the emotional stage of the album and hints at some post-metal influence. “The Stone That Lies Below” brings the heaviness with big, down-tuned grooves and throat rending screams. They carry through on the feeling the first song established, though, making heavy use of jazz chords and bittersweet melodies.
This creates an interesting juxtaposition when the band’s more aggressive side comes out. “From Ashes and Desolation” starts off sad and slow, as you’ll have come to expect by the time it rolls around, but god damn does it riff. This is where the “death metal” part of their sound really comes in and their slam roots start to show. From here on out, we’re treated to varying shades of anger and depression woven masterfully together between ophidian riffs and melodic tension. It’s well and truly an emotional roller coaster, but without any of the whiplash.
One of the most impressive parts of this experience is how complete it feels in spite of its brevity. Prog metal’s usual tradeoff of daunting song length for adequate expression of a multitude of ideas is noticeably absent on Mosaic; most of its songs clock in under four minutes, and even its longest stays under six. Despite that, it’s a satisfyingly full listen. No song outstays its welcome, nor feels cut short; they say exactly what they need to and move on.
Mosaic is an album that sounds a lot like how its cover looks: somehow beautiful, macabre, and soothing all at once. It’s brutal death metal in sepia tones, colorful but muted, with a strangely nostalgic air about it. I’m not sure if this means it fills a smaller niche or will have wider appeal; regardless, you should give it a listen. There are only a few other bands that come to mind that have this kind of sound, and Obastra are very much worth your attention.
Mosaic is available digitally on Bandcamp, and CD’s should be following soon. If you like what you heard, follow the band on Facebook, and be sure to check out their older material, too. They somehow managed to make a song called “Pump Kinship” sound dignified. That’s all for this week, and until next time,
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