Cruciamentum
Obsidian Refractions


4.0
excellent

Review

by NightOnDrunkMountain USER (34 Reviews)
November 23rd, 2023 | 116 replies


Release Date: 11/24/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Terrestrial temples reverberate.

No one is safe in the shadows and the dimly lit recesses of the death metal realm. After the change of the millenium, the quality artists opting for brutality as well as oppressive darkness were able to be counted in the fingers of one hand, but this grimly beautiful substyle of the genre saw a period of bloom towards the 10’s. Among the chosen few, Cruciamentum’s debut Charnel Passages took the scene by storm in 2015, as a furious and haunting album that should still be considered one of the clear best death metal releases of that decade. As the musical equivalent of slow cooking, it took the band eight years to build upon their monumental first chapter, with hardly any releases in between, apart from the exceptional Paradise Envenomed EP in 2017.

Cruciamentum also underwent a line-up overhaul since the last time they entered the studio for a full release. Guitarist / vocalist Dan Lowndes is the only remaining member from the original line-up, and the musicians affiliated with Grave Miasma are no longer involved with the band. New recruits feature guitarist Dan Rochester (also a member in another massive project, Vacivus), ex-Blaspherian / Morbosidad drummer Matt Heffner and Chris Eakes on bass and extra vocals, who also plays in the possibly lesser known but solid old school death metallers, Exaugurate. While all these new additions consist of strongly like-minded individuals, Cruciamentum’s sound stands firmly on the foundational elements of the band, but at the same time expresses nuanced differences in its compositional approach that in a way make the album, a new experience.

What we have here is expert level, multi-layered and intimidating death metal, from a band that pays obsessive attention to detail, from the aesthetics to the last guitar note. The production is fantastic, as is the cover art, and the tracks are all catered and attentive towards maintaining an interesting flow, along with the undeniable heaviness that permeates throughout the whole album. It’s mostly fast-paced but tempos have frequent undulations, there’s top-notch growling vocals and a plethora of outstanding guitar riffs, as well as shorter but dazzling solos, all constituting to what can simply be labeled as exemplary death metal. Cruciamentum’s talent in creating this terrifying atmosphere along with seamless transitions along the different sections of the album, makes Obsidian Refractions even more special.

This record, while surely bombastic at first listen, might be more of a grower compared to Charnel Passages. The band’s debut was so groundbreaking and memorable, but also more direct. As there’s an underlying but fairly clear increase in complexity with Obsidian Refractions, the listener might not feel the instant hook to the mouth that the felt with Charnel Passages, but at the end of the day, that’s the opposite of a negative trait for it. It constantly pushes on pure death metal, with nuanced but thoughtful experimentation in song-writing, which is recognisable in the introduction track named “Charnel Passages” (the connecting dot between the two albums), the solo part of “Necropolis of Obsidian Mirrors” and especially in the last track “Drowned”, the most unique Cruciamentum track I have heard so far.

Apart from that, there’s spot-on bangers like “Abhorrence Evangelium” and “Scorn Manifestation”, as well as an almost purely middle-paced piece “Interminable Rebirth In Abomination”, which touches slightly on more epicness than normal for this band. Admirers of the darker, cavernous side of death metal, most likely already know Cruciamentum and have been patiently waiting for their new album. I would suggest you take a longer term view on judging it, as the more space it gets, Obsidian Refractions gets more and more convincing, more and more gratifying. It’s also conceptually adjacent to Charnel Passages, and continues its story lyrically, as well as musically. Another peak moment in an already unbelievably great year for death metal.



Recent reviews by this author
Job for a Cowboy Moon HealerSpectral Voice Sparagmos
Departure Chandelier Satan Soldier Of FortunePanopticon The Rime of Memory
Autopsy Ashes, Organs, Blood and CryptsSulphur Aeon Seven Crowns and Seven Seals
user ratings (90)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
ffs
November 23rd 2023


6177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh shit this is out

MO
November 23rd 2023


23991 Comments


yea slays too

Pikazilla
November 23rd 2023


28994 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I cannot wait to listen to this

NightOnDrunkMountain
November 23rd 2023


501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

On YT for now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrwQdUgpVSo



It's out tomorrow officially. Really really great stuff!

Hawks
November 23rd 2023


84731 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

LETS GOOOOOO!

Kusangii
November 23rd 2023


6154 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Expecting this to be decent

Hawks
November 23rd 2023


84731 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It will be way more than decent. Last album is one of the best dm albums ever tbh.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2023


27901 Comments


Oh man I’m stoked for this one

trilo
November 23rd 2023


6010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice should be solid

ShadowRemains
November 23rd 2023


27576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

let's

fucking

go

motherfucker

ToSmokMuzyki
November 23rd 2023


9955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

not a prog death band for once thnak jebus

evilford
November 23rd 2023


63203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't wait to hear this



Happy Thanksgiving dm fanz

ShadowRemains
November 23rd 2023


27576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fully expect this to get slapped on my "digging"

MO
November 23rd 2023


23991 Comments


i never use the digging but would for this, so good

EyesWideShut
November 24th 2023


5889 Comments


cavernous m/

JayEnder
November 24th 2023


19139 Comments


Stoked to czech m/

ShadowRemains
November 24th 2023


27576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok the opener just fucking rips

giving me dead congregation vibes

Above
November 24th 2023


131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i've got some big expectations for this

ShadowRemains
November 24th 2023


27576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

new vocalist has some ross dolan vibes going and that is not a bad thing

my god this fucking rules

ShadowRemains
November 24th 2023


27576 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

drowned is a fucking incredible song holy motherfucking tits on a stick

edit: yup, that's 4.5 worthy



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy