Obsidian Kingdom
A Year With No Summer


3.5
great

Review

by Chamberbelain USER (116 Reviews)
March 7th, 2016 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Obsidian Kingdom craft a different product using the same tools they had for “Mantiis”.

Obsidian Kingdom’s breakthrough was delicately executed. Emerging from Barcelona, Spain-a country where few metal bands originate- it seemed natural that the native genre of music they play would be hard to classify by the rest of the world. Their debut album “Mantiis” arrived in 2012 containing a vivid palette of emotions through a bizarre range of genres while the spiralling diversity it revealed was well received by most. 4 years later and the dreaded ‘follow-up-album’ expectations are evidently high for Obsidian Kingdom with “A Year With No Summer”.

The most obvious thing about this sophomore album is that it is a clear, and bold, directional shift from “Mantiis”. There are no screams of growls located here which boosted the intensity on “Mantiis” further; instead Zer0 Æmeour Íggdrasil uses a serenading tone that takes precedence over the majority of the album. Sometimes this smooth style works well on vibrant songs such as the title track but not so well on ‘Darkness’ where the vocals sound more of a drunken mumble than actual singing. However the coherency between songs on “A Year With No Summer” remains as flawless as they were on Obsidian Kingdom’s debut. With a span of 47 minutes over 7 songs there are no noticeable filler tunes here either, even the short instrumental ‘Polyarnik’ serves as an evolution between the heavier song that precedes it and the airier one that succeeds it.

“A Year With No Summer” certainly sounds different from “Mantiis” however the instrumentation formula they follow still applies. Actually, can Obsidian Kingdom’s music even be considered formulaic? Perhaps the erratic behaviour itself is ironically the systematic formula they choose to incorporate? If that is the case then the kaleidoscopic dynamics remain a potent ingredient to nailing their self-expressed “hard-to-classify” genre. ‘The Kandinsky Group’ is predominantly a metal song however each musical element is cocooned around an oxymoronic nature. For instance, the guitars have a funky fidget but they just sound lonesome; the breezes of ambience are featherlike in weight but still sound foreboding and the looming bass in ‘Darkness’ lays a gloomy foundation to the buoyant interludes within the song.

Obsidian Kingdom also sticks to a minimalistic approach when establishing an interlude or when building crescendos in “A Year With No Summer”. The 12 minute closer, ‘Away/Absent’, starts off energetically thanks to Ojete Mordaza’s animated drumming but gradually develops to the speed of a dead snail. The drone aspect lays immovable textures of unrest throughout the song. Even when facing Tool-esque bass grooves and the insectile scratching of guitars, the yawning synthesizer remains impenetrable yet transparent: you can see the other aspects occurring beyond the synth, but it always clouds your senses.

“A Year With No Summer” doesn’t quite pack the intensity levels to bite the head off of “Mantiis” however it is undoubtedly a decisive step in a different direction to see just how far the path of experimentalism can take Obsidian Kingdom’s music.



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3.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Chamberbelain
March 7th 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album Stream:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLArAJlC1y55_2vBN_sLPt8qcboyFBOgiT&v=mA_YwYDXx04

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2016


15429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i gotta listen to dis

Digging: GoldLink - At What Cost

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2016


15429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is really good, I'm not sure why though. there are screams by the way.

RustCohle
March 7th 2016


154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is pretty awesome, like it as much as Mantis

Digging: Fen - Winter

icatchthirtythree
March 7th 2016


800 Comments


ohhhh shit downloading now

zaruyache
March 7th 2016


16374 Comments


Oh good; this is out. I knew it was dropping soon but I forgot to check when. Will check!

icatchthirtythree
March 7th 2016


800 Comments


This definitely has a different vibe than Mantiis, more doomy/post punk and less black. Still sweet though

LotusFlower
March 9th 2016


12002 Comments


bet this rocks the socks off

SpiritCrusher2
March 9th 2016


5293 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea this is great



I prefer Mantiis tho

Saberzauls
March 11th 2016


19 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm pretty surprised at just how different it is to Mantiis, which is one of my absolute favourites. Almost sounds like a completely different band, but it's still really solid.

icatchthirtythree
March 11th 2016


800 Comments


After giving this another listen I love the tracks The Kandinsky Group and Away/Absent, which are easily the two most aggressive tracks here. The others are good as well, but they are pretty slow builds and just don't have the umph that I'm looking for. Overall it's a sweet album but Mantiis easily tops it I think

elliootsmeuth
March 15th 2016


2819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review man, listening now. haven't listened to Mantiis yet, but liking the feel of this band a lot, so i'll definitely give that a listen as well after this

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
March 15th 2016


1510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is the sound I think I've been looking for

Digging: KU - Ganja

MarsKid
March 17th 2016


4286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It didn't quite click with me.

Digging: Eden Maine - To You The First Star

Hawks
March 17th 2016


48113 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah this kinda blows.

Digging: Jesu - Jesu

MarsKid
March 17th 2016


4286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think it was okay. Might bump it down after another listen. I can definitely see why people would be turned off.

PostMesmeric
March 18th 2016


661 Comments


This was great. Really enjoyed it.

lalchimiste
March 30th 2016


704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What are you guys talking about, album rules. It's definitely a bold move in experiencing with the many sounds of Mantiis and relying more on their post-metal atmospherics to craft their songs.



Album is definitely a grower

PortalofPerfection
March 31st 2016


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I may need more listens but I was really unimpressed with this after a couple of spins. Kinda reminds me of Melting Sun but without the feels :

lalchimiste
April 1st 2016


704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think if you go in and expect riff-based prog metal you'll be disappointed. This is more akin to heavy experimental prog/post rock with an emphasis on atmosphere (damn that hurts). Thus, it feel I enjoy it more as a whole record than the individual tracks themselves



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