This CD languished too long on my desk, perhaps too long for a timely review, but in the end I decided to shine the light on Oblomov anyway, in no small part due to the band’s most unusual moniker. For the three of you mildly interested in Russian literature, Oblomov is a main hero of Ivan Goncharov’s similarly titled novel, a lazy-ass no-good rotten couch potato aristocrat leading a useless life. His last name became a definition of the sloth sin in Russian and then Soviet reality.
Looking at the booklet’s atypical construction, reading cosmic inspired lyrics drawing on the works of Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg and Thomas S. Kuhn, and listening to all-synth looped together Into the R.O. (album intro) and Out of the R.O. (album outro) you might expect an avant-garde post-rock. Hah! This is simply not to be, as the Czech’s trio R.O. (album’s meat) is progressively exercised blackened metal.
Pavel, Martin and Honza are excellent musicians and that is what shows first and foremost on Mighty Cosmic Dances. The guys can play, pay attention to their leads and shifting tempos. On the album a very short distance separates blast beats from warm melodies (Dreamworks) and noodly (Redefination of the Past) or snappy (Dreamworks) progressive bassline. Despite the fact there are a few measured tremolos (Starsend), the album’s main guitar work is centered around cleanly executed well defined riffs, something steeped in Iron Maiden, but also appealing to a Dissection fan, minus the frozen cold feel. There is a lot of classic traditional heavy metal in Oblomov’s approach, the band placing their allegiances squarely on the Maiden trademark gallop’s side of the divide rather than blasting or minimalistic black metal.
A touch slower song (The Plague), or almost obligatory Gothenburg melody soaring and weaving its way through the riffs (Nostalgic Idealization), the band would have been an ordinary blackened Swedish metal if their folk and progressive elements would not take over. How does saxophone and mid-Eastern feel alongside aggressive riffing in Lost Between Emotions and Starsend? Mighty wonderful, and, as a matter of fact, I wish the band would do more of this blend! Adding mystery and subliminal undertones, these ingredients transform Oblomov from a solid workmanlike band into something unique.
Almost wanting to root for the Czechs I find a lot of internal contradictions with Mighty Cosmic Dances. Without a real drummer, the blastbeats are often programmed if not inhumanely fast, then inhumanely too long (Dreamworks). That and Honza’s extreme vocals are Oblomov’s central “blackened” elements, but there is no overall withdrawn, cold or melancholic feel emanating from the album. Targeting many of black metal elements, the band lacks innermost black metal aesthetic. As a result, Oblomov’s signature appears to be a little diffused on the album. And while Honza’s vocals are no doubt “mighty”, he only beats Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) by a few notches in annoyance department (but scores extra positive points for his attitude).
Mighty Cosmic Dances is an interesting album if you don’t want your black metal pitch dark and out of the ordinary throbbing saxophone leads look enticing to you. Definitely worth exploring.
Killing Songs :
Mentality Failure, Starsend, Nostalgic Idealization, Dreamworks
|Alex quoted 74 / 100|
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