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The Rebirth of the Middle Ages - 90%

Acrobat, May 27th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, 20 Buck Spin (Digipak)

From the unlikely locale of Minneapolis, inspired the more verdant loins of our ancient Europe - or "Y'r'p" you're an American - comes forth a sound and a melodicism that was recalls the old masters Solstice, Summoning (that one might need some clarification) Rotting Christ and, even, a twinge of In Flames circa The Jester Race. With this album, the sole offering from Obsequiae that has blessed my ears and I release that I must seek out the debut, they've really crafted something quite unique. It's akin to the growth and sprouting of flowers and greenery from a rich and fertile soil after the long, dark winter. A new fire rekindling something you thought you'd forgotten; like the bizarre euphoria after an hour's vomiting or, perhaps, the first shag after a comparative dry spell.

Refreshing. Erotic. Somewhat exotic.

Indeed, the sound is gloriously fresh and yet its own roots can be traced back to our strong European metallic tradition. Its folkish melodies recall that of Professor RH Walker on New Dark Age, whereas the layering can recall the classier end of upmarket, gentleman's melodic death metal (again, I'm going to be bold and state The Jester Race as the closest comparison here, but that's really a strong album despite the band who made it) and the layering and odd-ball production choices of Summoning. The guitar sound itself is something quite unusual; it seems to be pitch-shifted ever so slightly as if they were wishing to offer an updated version of a medieval instrument that I have never heard of before. Harmonious and spirited, it's a fantastically metallic and original sound. My only real grumble would be the artificial drum sound; if on any subsequent release Obsequiae sorted this out, whilst maintaining the same level of quality, they'd be approaching sonic perfection.

The song writing itself tends to offer more of "variations on a theme" rather than boldly diverse compositions than break their established mould. If I were to pick highlights, it would be 'Anlace and Heart', which serves as a concise summary of the album itself; gloriously melodic, with a strong sense of direction and progression throughout each composition. The leads, too, recall the 'Età dell'oro' of 90s melodic twiddly guitars in which the economy was strong enough to support the endless studious worship of the guitar harmony for teenagers all across Europe (Y'r'p). The vocals tend to take a backseat on this album, somewhat, but this, too, was a wise choice as it tends to highlight the interplay of the guitars as they twist and weave their into your brain.

Modern classic. Big things predicted. Please don't break up like all my other favourite newer bands. It's been on a constant loop since 2015 and that's not too usual for me with a modern album. Also, where is that monastery? It could be in Yorkshire.