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Obsidian Tongue
Volume I: Subradiant Architecture
September 2012
Released: 2012, Dissociation Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

Obsidian Tongue is a duo from Massachusetts preserving the passion and intensity of the quintessential Black Metal movement while manifesting a personal vision of the music style: An eerie and ritualistic sound that merges traditional Black Metal elements with their signature sense of melody and song structure, which often uses unconventional guitar chords, droning repetitive riffs and frequent clean passages.

The band name is inspired by the idea of metal music’s potential to improve one’s life. Obsidian is a pitch-black volcanic glass that is used in pagan tradition to absorb negative energies, and encourage mental/spiritual clarity. Music is widely considered a universal language, and for band members Brendan James Hayter (guitars/vocals) and Greg Murphy (drums/vocals), their musical ritual is the Obsidian Tongue.

Upon looking at the cover art for this album I was hoping that the music contained within would match the brilliantly, foreboding and darkly atmospheric piece of artwork that has been created for this album. It’s very simplistic but at the same time has something about it which really draws you in.

Thankfully the same can be said about the music, starting off the album is the intro track Approaching The Well which has a dark, slowly building feel to it not unlike Opeth or old Anathema before the band then launches full throttle into Hyper-Dimensional Blood Lotus which heads off the album full on with old school blast beats, crunchy Black Metal guitar tone and atmospheric Black Metal screams. If I had to pick a band to bring similarity and comparison with this band then I would say any fans of the raw and atmospheric Black Metal of bands like Wolves In The Throne Room would also like Obsidian Tongue.

The production on the album is just the right balance between keeping things sounding raw and in the Old School Black Metal sound but at the same time making sure all the elements are there and can be heard clear enough to give you the full sonic spectrum of the band, it’s much more of a natural sound that you’ll hear on this album rather than the precise and cosmetic Pro-Tools laden sound of other modern releases, which for this particular genre and band is just the right choice.

Stand out tracks from the album for me would be It Dangles From The Bones, which has a really nice mixture of slow atmospheric sections and full throttle aggressive blast beat sections as well, Hyper Dimensional Blood Lotus, which really does kick off the album with a bang and 9 minute and 32 second long Into The Heart Of Night which gives the band a nice long stretch of time to show what they can really do!

Despite the album being nicely atmospheric and a good raw Black Metal album, I can’t help but feel that the songs are just a little too basic and not attention grabbing enough to really give this album a high score. Maybe upon more listens it may grow on me but then given the wealth of other music that there is to listen to I sadly predict that this album might just sit on the gathering dust pile for a while. This certainly isn’t a bad album, but at the same time I wouldn’t hail it as being something ground breaking either, but if you’re a fan of the more raw and stripped down Black Metal sound then I would recommend this for you!

Review by Joffie Lovett
Track Listing

1. Approaching The Well
2. Hyper-Dimensional Blood Lotus
3. Frozen Leaves
4. It Dangles From The Bones
5. Distant, Residual
6. Into The Heart Of Night
7. Moonroom
8. Becoming The Storm


Greg Murphy – Drums
Brendan Hayter – Vocals & Guitars

Other reviews

» Volume I: Subradiant Architecture
by UK Team

Next review: » Obsidian Tongue/Infera Bruo - Split
Previous review: » Obsidian - Time Erodes

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