Obliteration
Cenotaph Obscure


4.3
superb

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
November 18th, 2018 | 460 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Obliteration return to satiate our cravings for all things profane and unholy

Heralded by many as the crown jewel of old school revivalism, with Nekropsalms considered a revelation and Black Death Horizon being something of a zenith for the movement, Obliteration’s place atop the death metal chaosphere is an enviable one. Well, sort of. It’s been half a decade since the quartet from Kolbotn “unleash[ed] the firebirds”, yet word of a new opus eluded us for what seemed like aeons. The radio silence was a reminder that the longevity of these monuments was still very much finite. The band nevertheless worked in solitude to hone their latest creation to nigh on perfection, unfazed by the fevered chattering of riff junkies worldwide. At last, Cenotaph Obscure is upon us, and – just as the Priests of Baal had foretold – the cries of those who believed they were forsaken are to be extinguished in one fell swoop.

Seldom can you draw conclusions based on the first few measures of an album, but the simple, militaristic drum line that opened the title track said that I was to be greeted with a masterclass in throwback-style production. As the percussion joined ranks with the feedback-scorched guitars and fetid though very much audible bass, my inkling turned out to be well warranted. Cenotaph… may well be the best sounding old school death metal album since the revival took the genre by storm in 2009. All the instruments are in perfect balance with one another, each at liberty to take centre stage thanks to the generous allowances made by the mastering. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means sanitised; it’s dirty and raw in all the right ways. Simply put, this thing is the remedy to the affliction that is the loudness war.

It’s just as well that there is crankability in droves, because Cenotaph… rarely lets up for its just-shy-of-forty-minute duration. Moments of sinister grandeur, a la the solo in Black Death Horizon’s “The Distant Sun”, are conspicuously absent; instead we’re bombarded by Sindre Solem’s deceptively intricate tremolo-picked riffs, sparsely adorned with trills and dive bombs. Juggling duties on both axe and mic, Solem also barks, howls and shrieks forth blasphemies with the same vehemence that immortalised his idols and spiritual predecessors. Powering this motorcade of sacrilege is the drumming of Kristian Valbo, untouched by studio trickery yet perfectly decipherable amid the chaos it facilitates. The crystal clarity of his tom fills and ghost notes are a testament to not only the prowess of the shadowy figures that produced this thing, but also the man’s raw talent behind the kit.

There is a knock-on effect to the album’s intensity, in that one song can bleed into the next if your focus dips at just the wrong time. The moments of brilliance, however, are more than worth wading through one listen after another. Strange, unresolved phrases in “Eldritch Summoning” add a haunting, supernatural tenor to a song already fraught with tension. The cascading doom of “Detestation Rite” acts as a portent of things to come, as “Onto Damnation” follows up with grooves that would make Howls of Ebb’s ears burn. Contrary to what the aesthetic may suggest, there is method to this album’s madness. Of course there is, works like this don’t simply happen. Devotees may have been driven mad by this album’s five-year inception, gnawing at their nails and pulling out their long, stringy hair, but I defy all who say Cenotaph Obscure is overdue.



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user ratings (125)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2018


3040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Five days my pretties



Can't find a stream to embed but here's a birb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Inq8L4R5zC4

Darius the Great
November 18th 2018


18966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gud job my pon fren :D

brainmelter
November 18th 2018


6067 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yes

Digging: Nosvrolok - Rare and Unreleased 1996 - 2009

Keyblade
November 18th 2018


26314 Comments


finally

Thalassic
November 18th 2018


2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh yeah

Gyromania
November 18th 2018


26124 Comments


Still need to hear black horizon

osmark86
November 18th 2018


8148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh yeaaah

Digging: Marxthrone - A Blaze In The Western Sky

Dimorphic
November 18th 2018


457 Comments


Good review and excellent band. Btw, I keep staring at the word 'Alas' in your review and I'm pretty sure you've used it incorrectly, but I'm ridiculously hungover right now and could just be being a moron. But yeah, 'alas' would be used when an undesired consequence occurs, which surely wouldn't be the case when this band is releasing a new album? Can't wait to hear it!

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2018


3040 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nope, very good catch. Swapped it out for "at last".

necropig
November 18th 2018


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh shit

Digging: Mopok - In the Dungeons of Mind

EvoHavok
November 18th 2018


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I need this.

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

Oceandrowned
November 18th 2018


819 Comments


Fuckn yeah, been waiting for this whole time.

Spacesh1p
November 18th 2018


7669 Comments


yes

Azog
November 18th 2018


94 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Counting the days.

AdolfChrist
November 18th 2018


18431 Comments


yes, bitch.

Digging: Mike Pace and the Child Actors - Smooth Sailing

Underflow
November 18th 2018


4658 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Can't wait to hear this.

Hawks
November 18th 2018


64329 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2]

Digging: Azelisassath - In Total Contempt of All Life

Maco097
November 18th 2018


2963 Comments


Your taste sucks but Obliteration is great, can't wait to hear it.

Thalassic
November 18th 2018


2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Shut the fuck up, Maco.

AdolfChrist
November 18th 2018


18431 Comments


that seems like a common sentiment towards maco.



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