As Obscene Entity power into the climatic riff of the track Insanity Binds, someone shouts the word “fuck”. Now, normally that kind of posturing would have me rolling my eyes, thinking of Lars Ulrich. But the particular moment at which it is exclaimed, after the band have just powered through a veritable maelstrom of death metal riffs before returning successfully to the song’s main riff, it comes across as totally genuine. Even triumphant. You find yourself totally behind them. Fuck!
I can’t think of a better way to illustrate the joy of Obscene Entity’s debut album Lamentia.
Loosely based around the theme of mental fragility, this intense and heartfelt album pulls you down a rabbit hole of tortured death metal. The album starts off with the Gojira-fronted-by-Jeff Walker assault of Planetary Devastation. It’s a good, solid opener but the album kicks into another gear as Hymns of the Faithless veers from a dizzy, swirling riff midway through the track into a groovy, stop-start breakdown. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you gurn like Phil Anselmo. Listen to this on the bus at your peril.
And from there on the album just seems to intensify, the band continually adding new elements and styles. The title track has a whirling dervish riff and ringing chords that bring to mind Emperor and Euphoric Vanity employs some guitar progginess in a wonderful Chuck Schuldiner vein. The twin vocals of guitarist Matt Adnett (also of Shrines) and bassist Calum Gibb keep things varied throughout: ranging from brute Behemoth growls to hoarse blackened snarls. But the top honours go to drummer Luke Braddick. For an album this vehement, it’s remarkably hooky and those hooks are powered and enhanced by Luke’s dynamic and tasteful playing. Throughout, the band plays a modern style but has a classic sensibility and chemistry: constantly reining themselves in, allowing space for all the parts to have maximum effect. This quality, aided by the powerfully clear production from Dan Abela, only adds to the album’s power and intensity.
There are a lot of approaches and influences on Lamentia and my only concern is that the band haven’t quite found their unique voice yet. But it’s never derivative and the prospect of the band developing and finding that voice on future releases is tantalising. But until then, there’s plenty to enjoy and gurn at in Lamentia. It’s unreconstructed death metal performed with remarkable skill, piss and vinegar. Expect to see this in my end-of-year Top Ten, it’s a fantastic debut. Fuck!
HMO Rating: 4 out of 5
Obscene Entity on Bandcamp: http://obsceneentity.bandcamp.com/
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