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Rating:
8.7
Obliteration - Black Death Horizon
4 November 2013


01. The Distant Sun (They Are The Key)
02. Goat Skull Crown
03. Transient Passage
04. Ascendance
05. Sepulchral Rites
06. Black Death Horizon
07. Churning Magma


I usually tend to shy away from death metal in its current incarnation, finding many of today's acts as being more concerned with upholding the often stale standards of the genre than with injecting them with a fresh, modern twist. It's album's like Obliteration's Black Death Horizon that make me reexamine this perhaps hasty jump to conclusions, and give it a serious run for its money.

A four piece hailing from none other than Kolbotn, Norway (the home town of Darkthrone), the unquestionable charm of Obliteration, especially on this latest release, has to lie in their sophisticated manipulation of mood and tempo. Opener "The Distant Sun (They Are The Key)" kicks off with a slow, doom-like pacing, creating an atmosphere of gradually being dragged into a vile, decaying tomb. Much like Obituary with Cause Of Death, a good chunk of Black Death Horizon dwells in this delivery of thick, heavily pulsating riffs that could easily knock you over a wall. The technique helps to create an excellent vibe of variation, and builds anticipation for Obliteration to up the ante and deliver the goods.

And deliver they do, for as could be expected, Black Death Horizon also grounds itself firmly in aggressive, take-no-prisoners death metal territory, which both pays tribute to many of extreme metal's forefathers while not sounding too much like them either. Whether it's a head nod to Kreator ("Goat Skull Crown"), some Mayhem-esque drumming ("Sepulchral Rites"), or the sinister vocals of Sindre Solem that tap back into the glory days of Venom and Celtic Frost, it all comes together to form one frightening hell ride through a massive burial mound.

Despite these similarities, Black Death Horizon is by no means just another cookie cutter death metal release. Obliteration don't really imitate the bands of yesterday as much as they specifically pick which ingredients they like from certain ones, carefully cannibalizing them and spitting them out in the form of one cleverly cohesive whole. The diversity of speed, combined with a delightfully evil atmosphere of haunting nights and rotten corpses (see instrumental "Churning Magma," especially) help to make Obliteration's third full length one of the most pleasantly surprising death metal albums of 2013. If you've been looking for an album that combines a great old-school sound with a crisp, modern update, look no further, because this is it.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Obliteration
Album: Black Death Horizon


 



Written on 21.01.2014 by
Apothecary
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a master. But without innovation, it is a corpse."
-Winston Churchill
More reviews by Apothecary ››



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Marcel Hubregtse - 21.01.2014 at 17:52  
One of this year's very finest.
Apothecary - 21.01.2014 at 17:54  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.01.2014 at 17:52

One of this year's very finest.

And definitely one of my most-anticipated sets for Roadburn
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.01.2014 at 17:56  
Written by Apothecary on 21.01.2014 at 17:54


And definitely one of my most-anticipated sets for Roadburn



Let me guarantee you that they're better live than on album
Apothecary - 21.01.2014 at 18:01  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.01.2014 at 17:56

Let me guarantee you that they're better live than on album

Excellent, and we get Bolzer and Tribulation too... not many extreme bands on the lineup this year, but the ones that are I think will all be pretty superb.
boo-boo - 21.01.2014 at 18:34  
Finally, some death metal album that really caught me, doesn't happen with new stuff anymore. Mot bands just copy their old albums, making each new more and more forgettable. That's not the case of Obliteration - these tracks clung to my brain and just didn't let go.
Zaphod - 21.01.2014 at 19:28  
I wouldn't give it an 8 for originality, but that's just a number anyways. Your review really says it all.
Apothecary - 21.01.2014 at 19:42  
Written by Zaphod on 21.01.2014 at 19:28

I wouldn't give it an 8 for originality, but that's just a number anyways.

I was considering giving it a 7 for a second, but settled on the 8 because I think there's a bit of originality in how Obliteration apply their variety of influences. Like I kinda hinted at, it's one thing to be an exact imitator, it's another to form your own puzzle from pieces of bands that've inspired you.
mz - 21.01.2014 at 21:05  
Haha you keep surprising me
I personally would rate it a little lower, but the review is well written, as always
qlacs - 21.01.2014 at 21:50  
Sounds like something old and forgotten from the 90's. Amazing!
K†ulu - 21.01.2014 at 22:10  
Thanks for the review. Got me interested.
RottingDeathHead - 22.01.2014 at 00:28  
Was already excited for this album to come out, but this review just made me want the damned thing even more!
Zaphod - 22.01.2014 at 13:27  
Written by Apothecary on 21.01.2014 at 19:42

I was considering giving it a 7 for a second, but settled on the 8 because I think there's a bit of originality in how Obliteration apply their variety of influences. Like I kinda hinted at, it's one thing to be an exact imitator, it's another to form your own puzzle from pieces of bands that've inspired you.

Upon re-listening I have to say:
1) you have a point, but I still wouldn't give it more than a 7 for originality, though that doesn't mean I don't think it sounds very fresh.
2) HOLY FUCK THIS THING IS AWESOME!
Storm_Raven - 22.01.2014 at 13:58  
After reading the review I can't wait to get this one! Specially since I'm in the mood for some serious fucking death metal
M C Vice - 23.01.2014 at 08:29  
So, do the vocals sound like Tom Warrior? I don't listen to much death metal, but the vocal bit made me interested.
Apothecary - 23.01.2014 at 15:49  
Written by M C Vice on 23.01.2014 at 08:29

So, do the vocals sound like Tom Warrior? I don't listen to much death metal, but the vocal bit made me interested.

A little bit, at least to my ears they have a very First Wave Black Metal-inspired tinge to them. Check out "Transient Passage" and "Sepulchral Rites" especially
Therapy? - 28.01.2014 at 17:03  
Holy shit this cover art reminds me so much of Colony from In Flames
Verdun_sc - 27.05.2014 at 10:02  
Written by M C Vice on 23.01.2014 at 08:29

So, do the vocals sound like Tom Warrior? I don't listen to much death metal, but the vocal bit made me interested.

To me they sound more like Tomas Lindberg on The Red in the Sky is Ours honestly. Which means kinda more black metal. At times anyway.

As for the album, it's awesome. But so are their previous records so this wasnt surprising. I think people need to recognize the morbid sensibility this album/band shares with TRITSIO more often. Not quite, but at times they remind me of that album more than pretty much any other DM.

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