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Obsequiae - Suspended In The Brume Of Eos - 85%

Witchfvcker, June 9th, 2014

Formed in 1998 under the name of Autumnal Winds, it took 13 years until guitarist/vocalist Blondel de Nesle (also of funeral doom outfit Celestiial) and bassist/drummer Neidhart von Reuental, now collectively known as Obsequiae, released their first full-length. The result, bearing the intriguing title Suspended In The Brume Of Eos, boasts a melodic blend of black and folk metal with a substantial medieval bent. As Obsequiae prepares to release the follow-up, 20 Buck Spin are reissuing the debut on vinyl with updated cover art.

Music being labeled as “medieval metal” ultimately smacks of a cheap gimmick. Ingeniously, Obsequiae shies away from cliches; their music wholeheartedly invokes panoramic vistas of deep woodlands and triumphant battlefields. Recognizably pantheistic in concept, parallels are easily drawn to Agalloch, Falls Of Rauros, and their ilk. Intricate melodies paints archaic landscapes, underpinned by Reuental’s amiable rhythm-section. The broad and expansive strokes are favorably comparable to the brush of Pale Folklore, also mirrored in Nesle’s feral screams.

Somewhat predictably the album is divided by several acoustic intermissions. This is of course an unwritten rule of pagan metal, but it’s also the only point at which Suspended…feels slightly derivative. The rest of the material ranges from progressive sprawling epics that rival Dissection at their best, and shorter bursts of primordial aggression. Mainly driven by dueling guitar harmonies, intense atmospheres are conjoined with unforgettable riffs. To dismiss Obsequiae as folk metal would be a big disservice indeed; this is far and above your garden variety collection of glorified drinking songs.

By completely dedicating themselves to timbery atmosphere and gorgeous melodies, Obsequiae effectively overshadow most of their kind by a large margin. There is a untamed yet oddly sophisticated allure to Suspended In The Brume Of Eos, a rare but wonderful addition to the dark metal pantheon. As Reuental departed soon after the release of this album, it will be interesting to see how the upcoming continuation turns out. For the time being, Suspended…is a powerful and monumental album that is aching to be (re)discovered.

Written for The Metal Observer