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Obscure Anachronism. - 80%

Perplexed_Sjel, May 21st, 2008

Austria isn’t the usual destination I end up when I search for new black metal music, but this time, I have. I’m relatively pleased I have in this instance. I’ve checked out the Austrian scene before and it wasn’t spectacular, by any means. When I came across the band Obscure Anachronism, I was intrigued for several reasons. First, the band name. It’s not typical of black metal acts at all. When one looks for examples of stereotypical black metal band names, one usually turns to words like ‘Lord’ or ‘Winter’. These are just two examples that regularly pop up when one looks into the black metal industry. To me, band names are important. Obviously they are not as important as the actual content of the music, but they act as a persuasive device, in my eyes. If a band has a name I like, I check them out. This is one band that appealed to me greatly, in that sense. Second, this band have been recognised as being depressive black metal. Whilst this isn’t strictly true, in my eyes, after listening to the debut, I can see why this has occurred. I’m a huge fan of depressive black metal. I love my black metal to be slathered in depression. So what? Whilst Obscure Anachronism are highly emotional, generally dealing with negative emotions, they don’t strike me as being particularly depressing, or depressive.

In some ways, but not many, Obscure Anachronism remind me of Summoning. Why? Well, for the simple fact that I instantly defined their music as ‘epic’. When one thinks of Summoning, they usually think of epic black metal, or that’s how it looks to me. Considering the obvious connection between the bands, the fact that they are both from Austria, one can imagine that this band are indeed influenced, if only ever so slightly, by Summoning. Obscure Anachronism are a well refined band. They have a professional sound which is projected well by the top notch production used on the album. Whilst I’ve heard better produced albums before, by black metal acts, this is certainly one that has been made with care. One can see that a lot of effort has gone into song writing. Especially because of the use of bass on the album. Bass is an instrument that is usually whitewashed over because of it’s ineffectual sound in the industry. It’s not as standout-ish as the guitars, or the percussion tends to be. Obscure Anachronism have changed the perception of bass on this particular record. It’s harnessed quite well and used to their advantage in a way that most black metal acts tend to neglect. Bass being such a low tuned instrument enhances the darker side music in general, and when it comes to black metal, it highlights it more. The bass on this album does just that. It highlights the dark and more destructive nature of Obscure Anachronism.

Whilst the band have seemingly put much more effort into enhancing the role bass plays on the album, they have neglected the use of percussion. Whilst the majority of the album sounds polished and professional, the drums have a distinctly different sound to the rest of the instruments. They harm the soundscapes. As I said, Obscure Anachronism sound professional, but the drums don’t. They sound amateurish. I’m not suggesting they are played badly by the bands drummer, but instead, the production on the album just doesn’t suit the sound the drums make. If the sound of the drums was to work, I imagine a murkier production would have suited them more. Seeming as it’s crystal clear on this album, the drums suffer and so does the overall appeal of the album to it’s audience. However, whilst the drums may hinder the progress of the songs, the other sections aren’t held back too much by the labored sound of the percussion. The vocals aren’t spectacular, but they are what one would expect from most black metal acts. Rasps sang with pure aggression, and perhaps a volatile range of emotions. The soundscapes are affected by the vocals, so they do play their part in creating a healthier opinion of themselves. The melody of black metal vocals is by far more important than the actual style itself. There are spoken vocals used on the album, but only on the last song. It struck me as quite odd, but when I look back on it, they suited the rather slow pace of the song. Generally, the songs are quite fast and very repetitive. This, over the long duration that all the songs are played at, allows the melody and melancholy to wash over the audience. As I’ve stated already, whilst this album isn’t particularly brilliant, it is professional. It’s a good album, well worth your time and effort if you like your black metal to sound ’epic’.