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Obsolete Theory - Mudness - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 22nd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, My Kingdom Music

My first thought when stumbling upon this somehow strangely titled album by the Italian band Obsolete Theory was that if Amon Amarth hired a black metal vocalist and implemented a few post/atmospheric metal elements into their Viking style it would sound something like this. Of course this idea disappeared the more I kept listening to “Mudness” but the ingredients of melodic death metal and atmospheric black metal cannot be denied.

The goal of Obsolete Theory is to blend contrasting elements, melancholy and aggression, pain and pleasure. A lot of bands throw these kinds of statements out and it often comes across like a pale attempt at making sense of a whole lot of noise. One spin through “Mudness” shows that Obsolete Theory has an idea how to work their heady conceits into solid heavy music. All of the songs here are long and spacious, adhering only loosely to sub-genre rules.

The riffing is on point with the main chords being pitched against the outstanding lead guitar work. The melodies are dark and eerie and always have that heavily melancholic vibe. There are a lot of calmer moments being used to create certain pictures of loneliness and despair in the listener’s mind. However, there are also lighter moments delivering a glimmer of hope.

This album is not just a bunch of songs randomly put together and just copied onto one disc but should be consumed as one piece of art. The band underline this feeling of coherence by using some of the harmonies in slightly varied forms again in later songs. Main themes are used as elements to close the circle and help the consumer to finish his journey.

However, fans of more traditional forms of metal should not be afraid of checking this album out as the basis for all these atmospheric pieces are hard hitting riffs and some classic tremolo runs. Generally speaking the instrumentation is top notch with the rhythm section delivering some cool grooves. There are a few tempo and rhythm changes but nothing too sophisticated so that I never got the feeling of being disrupted. The mixture of heaviness, barking vocals and creating such a cool atmosphere is what makes this album unique.

The production is tight with the mix being crystal clear. The guitars have a nice crunchy tone and the drums have enough punch to make the music sound powerful and heavy. Overall Obsolete Theory have delivered a great piece of music that should be checked out by any open-minded fan of heavy yet melodic music.