Reviewed: June 2022
Released: 2022, Blood Harvest Records
Reviewer: Lee Carter
In many ways, metal, indeed, death metal is rather uniquely placed to deal with the complexities of life in a musical form. 2020 was one of those years ripe for harvesting material, especially while bands and artists were confined to their homes. OBSCENE were no different, and released their debut ‘The Inhabitable Dark’ midway through the fun-times of lockdown. Arguably out of the woods now (at least as far as the top brass in the UK are concerned), we can now enjoy the follow-up to their debut in the form of ‘…From Dead Horizon To Dead Horizon’.
Despite the musical complexity and skill involved to make it sound convincing, old school death metal is a simple beast. Go for the jugular, be bloody and be extremely violent, if not in lyric, then absolutely in music. Their name suggests it, but thankfully OBSCENE most definitely deliver the goods in straight-forward and violent death metal. ‘…From Dead Horizon To Dead Horizon’ may begin inconspicuously with a haunted piano intro and close serenely, but everything in between is pure blunt-force trauma to the ears. And that there is a primary factor in good death metal’s favour: feeling the force of it.
But for a brief excursion to something approaching BEHEMOTH-like pomposity with the dual harmonies that herald the beginning of the oh-so-death-metal-titled “I Shall Drink The Earth’s Blood”, the album’s just an unrelenting series of blows to the skull. Follow-up “Deathless Demigod” opens with rabid fury and thundering tremolo riffage, whilst the sudden change-up to chunky riffage in the bruising “Insensate Cruelty” captures the ear superbly. The leads are tasteful and appropriately chaotic where required, yet it’s vocalist, Kyle Shaw, that steals the show throughout with his caustic howl. It’s just a little different from the norm and brilliantly stands out, sounding like it has ripped every fibre from his throat.
The band themselves have stated that it is not their intention to reinvent the wheel for death metal and, while admirable, it does set up an age-old question that every artist will have asked themselves. How do you set yourself apart? Yes, every band does have their subtle nuances in sound, but in this age, it is so much easier to ape another band’s sound. Couple this with the saturation of music in the age of the internet, and the more jaded music lover can (lazily) claim to have heard everything before. So while OBSCENE are devotees to old school death metal, they do not ape those bands that came before, but then they do not push the envelope for the genre. A bit of a limbo situation.
While ‘…From Dead Horizon To Dead Horizon’ may not set tongues wagging for innovation, it will do a job at pulverising you. It is only half-an-hour long, but the old saying of not being here for a long time, just a good time rings true. OBSCENE’s sophomore will ably please fans of the purer form of death metal from way back when. Whether in a pit or on a playlist, it’ll sit alongside contemporaries with aplomb and kick considerable arse.
1. From Dead Horizon
2. I Shall Drink The Earth’s Blood
3. Deathless Demigod
4. Faith Through Pain
5. Insensate Cruelty
6. The Burrowing Hiss
7. Shrew’s Nest
8. Children Of The Static
9. Open Grave Of A Forgotten Past
10. To Dead Horizon
Roy Hayes – Bass
Kyle Shaw – Vocals
Brandon Howe – Drums
Mike Morgan – Guitar