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You may not have heard of them, but Obtest is a name renowned among connoisseurs of underground pagan black metal. Their music, taking flight in scraping guitar riffs, smashing drums, raspy vocals with a few chanted hymns here and there, manages to maintain an original and worthwhile demeanor while not breaking any new ground.
Sung entirely in Lithuanian, the quality of the songs on ‘Auka Seniems Dievams’ is good, the production is fairly raw, though it does not impede on the music which is entirely audible. The guitars heavy and raw sounding, combined with the drums they serve in creating the sound attributed to black metal.
The melodies they create are not entirely typical of black metal in that they are infused with a Balkan influence. Generally fast paced with memorable choruses, the songs are distinctive and enjoyable, relying on the melodies for pagan ambience, as there are no folk instruments. I am, however, especially appreciative of the clean vocal hymns as well as the guitar riffs. The only thing for me to criticize is that, outside the choruses and riffs, some of the songs do drag on a bit.
Nevertheless, I think it’s probably safe to say that Obtest is, hands down, the best metal band in all of Lithuania. If you have a taste for majestic/brutal pagan black metal then you will have a taste for Obtest. ‘Auka Seniems Dievams’ is a triumphant release from this band and highly recommended.
If I’m right, for some reason viking and pagan black metal is very popular in the Baltic area. However Lithuania is perhaps the least enthusiastic in “producing bands”, Obtest is a really good surprise to me. This is an elite Viking (if you like better pagan) black metal band!
The production is raw (compared to what is popular in this genre) but clear, and just perfect to the music. The album begins with some melodic acoustic part, and you know in the moment that nothing bad could come! What comes are 10 pieces of fine fast, melodic pagan black metal! All tracks are strong, and there are many clear vocals too. The melodies are not very catchy but until hearing them, very pleasant (and this music doesn’t have to be as catchy as melodeath in my opinion). Though not very original, Obtest is not very similar to any famous band, they have their own style. The lyrics are in Lithuanian (that is very good, because the singing is quite understandable and this language definitely fits the music), and I suppose they are about war (the cover is an argument for this; it presents four drawn warriors - by the way also fine!)
Obtest is a very good band. Their music is not original, but a perfect “music of war”. And, why I especially like it: real war metal; rawer and faster than most of bands in this genre, in the same time melodic. These components create a very cool “mighty” atmosphere! My favourit tracks are the first (Iš Širdies...) and the last (Vardan…) one - though the remains are all equally good. I recommend it for all fans of fast Viking black metal!