Review Summary: Altar of Oblivion plays things a little too safe.
Altar of Oblivion is an epic doom metal band from Denmark. Grand Gesture of Defiance was my first encounter with the band. Altar of Oblivion was formed in 2005, and, to date, has released two full length albums. Grand Gesture of Defiance has only six tracks and a relatively short run time of about 34 minutes; complete with easily forgettable cover art.
I like the vocals on this a lot. They sound similar to Osbourne's Sabbath with a little more of a croon and a bit deeper. The timbre and presentation of the vocals are solid, but whenever they're present, the instrumental work becomes complacent; staying in familiar territory. All of the highlights from this album, for me, come when the vocals are out of the way, and the instruments can assert themselves. While I like the vocal sound a lot, I'm not enthralled with the lyrics. With song titles like: 'Where Darkness Is Light', 'The Graveyard of Broken Dreams', and 'In the Shadow of the Gallows', you can figure out what you're in for.
There aren't a great number of surprises on this. What you see is what you get: epic doom metal. The Graveyard of Broken Dreams was the highlight of this, for me, because it was the only song where I felt like there was an engaging instrumental performance paired with a good vocal performance. It was the only song where they felt like they really meshed with the songwriting. If this band's next release has a more consistently engaging instrumental performance, it would likely be a very good one. But as it stands now, we have a record that feels uninspired; a record that plays things by the book.