Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure
Indie Recordings
Death Metal
7 songs (39:42)
Release year: 2018
Bandcamp, Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

Following on from 2013's excellent Black Death Horizon this Norse four-piece are back with another platter of splatter. Few if any death metal bands take their influence so solidly from Darkthrone's first two albums, both the technical space oddity of Soulside Journey and the caveman black metal of A Blaze In the Northern Sky well represented by Obliteration, who share the legendary duo's home town. Cenotaph Obscure isn't quite as good as its predecessor unfortunately; more of the same rather than a new step forward and notably more chaotic in structure and effect, meaning that you'll struggle to make sense of it on initial listens, but given time it reveals its secrets. For one, the band's mix of everything from thrash to black metal comes together well, the opening title track moving from ominous drum beats and doomy grandeur to galloping, almost blackened bass-heavy weirdness smoothly. They're still unique, too; the vocals are deranged yells, occasionally dipping into snarled growls, both eerie and aggressive, while guitar solos are psychedelic washes of oddness more melodic than you'd expect.

And the atmospheric effect is always intense, Tumulus of Ancient Bones dipping into the black metal rumble of A Blaze In The Northern Sky and modernising it without diminishing it, even managing a sort of insane catchiness to the riffing. Longest track present Eldritch Summoning is an eight minute stomper that moves like a weird mix of early Voivod and Aura Noir, twisted black/thrash riffing nicely dark and grim, building up with increased speed and intensity then fading out when it could have gone another eight minutes. The following Detestation Rite continues this but kicks up the tempo and intensity even more before throwing in multiple doomdeath breakdowns and while both Onto Damnation and Charnel Plains are excellent in their own rights, they sound a little too similar to what came before to be truly outstanding, even with the touches of psychedelia in the latter that I'd love to hear expanded on in future releases...

Cenotaph Obscure echoes Black Death Horizon a little too well at points, yet it does miss impressive moments from that album like the chillingly mad clean vocals of Goat Skull Crown. A bit less manic and dementedly catchy, much less doomy yet still a crushing demonstration of skill, Cenotaph Obscure is hardly a disappointment but is significantly less exciting than Obliteration have shown themselves to be in the past, and as a result doesn't have quite the impact that Black Death Horizon did. It's still very worthy of your time, however.

Killing Songs :
Tumulus of Ancient Bones, Eldritch Summoning, Detestation Rite
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Obliteration that we have reviewed:
Obliteration - Black Death Horizon reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Obliteration - Nekropsalms reviewed by Khelek and quoted 80 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:37 am
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