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There is quality, but it does leave no trace of it - 70%

oneyoudontknow, June 19th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Hypnotic Dirge Records

Difficult to pin down. Difficult to actually describe, be fascinated by, be wondered by, be amazed by. Music with a mandatory objection. Consistency with an all too present interjection. While the skill is there and able to spark interest as well as grabbing the listener, it finds it challenging to grapple this person. There is an ever-present chance of escape and even though Obsidian Tongue are doing a lot in order to keep the attention and the interest up, one has to pinpoint to how it all comes over as too nice, gentle and standardized.

And it is not as if the band did not actually dared to move into a different direction and to experiment a bit. Throughout the release nice solo-guitar parts are able to create small sparks of versatility, even though the music itself is generally not too shallow or predictable. The song-writing has its moments and it is nice to experience the different stages of atmospheres on “A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time”. With well crafted melodies, enough space for the vocals to unfold their potential, a lot of variation of all the elements, a good production and mix, this band from Canada might have been able to gather a certain following in the metal scene. Yet the sum of its parts remain what it is … the sum of its parts and nothing more. Pure mathematics and no speculation of what can be fathomed from this or that.

All is nice … but nothing more. For all that has been mentioned above, the same can be said against the performance. It simply leaves nothing. Even after countless spins and attempts to tackle this thing, the Canadian band is filled the air around me but has never been able to become more than a mere background ambience. Compared with a band like Vintersorg their concept lacks surprising as well as outstanding characteristics. There is little question about their potential, their ability to write music and handle their instruments. What should be criticized is whether they have truly found their style, yet. At times it sounds as if the listener is supposed to be bombarded with a too many elements at the same time, which leaves this person in the position of being unable to recall much of it. This brew of progressive raw black metal with folk elements demands too much maybe.

Let us call it an interesting release, then. They showed some effort on their second album … but they fail to thoroughly impress. Fans of progressive black metal might want to give this stuff a try.

Birth and Death – In one breath - 70%

JJM1, September 8th, 2013

The majority of the time one-man black metal bands are just a bad idea. Massachusetts based band, Obsidian Tongue, has their roots as originally being formed as Brendan Hayter's one-man band, but more than likely realizing his limitations and silliness of using a drum machine, drummer Greg Murphy stepped in before the band even released their first recording. 2010 marked the bands lone demo, which was followed by their debut full-length, 'Volume I: Subradiant Architecture,' in '12 and most recently through Hypnotic Dirge Records their sophomore effort, 'A Nest of Ravens In the Throat of Time.'

'Brothers in the Stars' kicks off the album and within a few minutes it becomes obvious that these guys are fans of newer Enslaved albums, so much so that the cleanly sung parts throughout the song seem to deliberately mimic the Norwegian legends to a t. So, yes, were dealing with a more progressive brand of black metal here, which also bares its fair similarities to the likes of Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room, some pre-Still Life Opeth and probably any other progressive-ish or Cascadian metal (whatever the fuck that is) band you can think of. Nevertheless, Obsidian Tongue, delivers an honest album here.

The songs generally move through speedier dissonant black metal passages to occasionally more melodic territories and then towards the progressive parts and even down some doomier avenues. It might not sound like much, but there's honestly enough variations and well done riff work as well as competent drumming to really make it an enjoyable listen. Some brief acoustics and synth here and there are a welcomed addition too. Plus factor in that the album is well recorded, and by no means really sounds underground or typically straightforward black metal at any given time. Yep, this isn't the sort of black metal that, that weird friend of yours that has boots up to his knees would listen too, but rather more of the sort for those that crave talented musicianship and emotion through their music.

I guess what just gets me is the sometimes blatant similarities. The already mentioned Enslaved comparison shines throughout the disc, as well some Morningrise-era Opeth parts are here and there, and the song with John Haughm of Agalloch singing doesn't sound entirely different from something Agalloch might do themselves. So, originality isn't their strong side, but as I've already said the songs are diverse enough, the riffs are surely there, and the musicianship and genuine emotion is all over this baby. Apparently the band also pulls this off as a two-man live assault too, which is surely admirable.

In the end I could say that, 'A Nest of Ravens In the Throat of Time' is a solid album, if you fancy those bands I mentioned you'd best be all over this one. No, its not a masterpiece, its almost there, but the band needs to create their own sound and stop feeding off their influences so strongly.

Originally wrote for, Lunar Hypnosis: http://lunarhypnosis.blogspot.com