Released: 2012, Flenser Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Amongst the masses of obscure black metal bands are Obolus, a black metal outfit from California. When one thinks of California, beautiful beaches and sunny summers come to mind; but not enough to please all its inhabitants. Obolus’s 2nd release Lament follows their previous 2011 2 track demo, delivering an EP of misery.
The release opens with “Desolation”, the sound of rainfall paints a grey scene before the instruments begin their barrage in the typical black metal fashion. Obolus present us with a good onslaught of gloomy black metal, to illustrate better imagine the dark vibe of Blut Aus Nord and Vlad Tepes with the repetitive, atmospheric nature of bands like Wolves In The Throne Room. It is great that the strong, dense atmosphere is maintained in the duration of the song, keeping the power throughout whether in savage blast sections or chordy slower parts. The EP includes 2 interlude tracks of soundscapes created with clean/acoustic guitars and synthesisers, keeping it simple and grim.
The rest of the whole band tracks continue in a similar vein of “Desolation”, the third track “Hatred” doing what it says on the tin, opting for a anger fueled song comparable to approach Leviathan have taken to DSBM. The inclusion of synth gives a great additional texture and really thickens the sound. The production also works wonders for the songs, semi-raw yet very full sounding and balanced. The vocal delivery is executed well; high pitched, harsh and distant sounding. The guitar work isn’t particularly elaborate but focuses on simplicity, atmosphere and shows variation during clean sections. Only shame is the programmed drums, bleh. (My bad if they are real, and if so congratulations for having an incredibly tight drummer!)
Overall this rather short EP, while doing nothing for innovation keep put Obolus in the crowd of black metal projects sticking to be influenced rather than influence; taken for what it is Lament is a rather enjoyable (not in that way) release for a rainy day. Its short length (less than 20 minutes) makes it very digestible too, but whether Obolus will make ripples in the black metal world is uncertain, perhaps a full length album in the future would paint a better picture of what the band is capable of.
Give it a listen anyway from its free stream (link above), in case you worship it; it is available on Vinyl from Flenser Records.
For fans of: Leviathan, Wolves in The Throne Room, Xasthur, Pest (Sweden), tremolo picking, power chords, Emperor.
Review by: Jesel Gohil