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Distinctive death metal - 80%

Zodijackyl, December 18th, 2015

Oshiego is a death metal band which has a distinct flair and is strong in structured songwriting. Riffs are driven by sharp, slightly "exotic" melodies - but rarely harmonies - paired with percussive death/thrash riffs. The style feels somewhat familiar, though unique enough to make it hard to draw direct parallels. Akin to the newer takes on old school death metal from the late 90s/early 00s, this is a good take on it.

Oshiego is old-school in style - the songs are based around ideas of on guitar, then mirrored in instrumentation on bass and drums. Rather than a modern approach, where the heaviness of production provides a wrenching and thrashing percussiveness and is repeated, the concepts originate from melodies on guitar.

The Oshiego trademark is to phrase an exotic melody as a guitar riff, then initiate a call-and-response push/pull with percussive guitar riffs. The melodies and the moods they inflect are unique to this band, but are reminiscent of Atheist's more melodic bits, or perhaps the better-phrased moments of Death. These are paired appropriately with thrashier death metal riffs akin to Master or Carnal Forge. The exotic tonality is easy to equate to Nile, but Oshiego doesn't have the long-winded or aggressively overdone attributes of Nile. Perhaps that is for the better, as the drum machine is met well by the extremely tight guitar and bass playing.

The songwriting provides a necessary dynamic to the single-songwriter/single-player sound. The rhythms here are very tight, and it is apparent that there is one man playing the quad-tracked guitars and bass along to a well-programmed drum track. The contrast to this is that, unlike most bands of the style who repeat 2-3 part song structures (i.e. ABAB-AB or ABC-ABC) Oshiego nest contrasting two-part sections inside of other parts. Rather than simple verse-chorus structures expanding upon that with pre-choruses, transitions, and reprises, the songs aren't chorus-oriented. There are definite structures here, but each of the 2-3 primary parts are structured with those push/pull, call-and-response riffs which emphasize melody and rhythm. This is what separates the band from many of the otherwise comparable late 90s/early 00s not-quite-oldschool death metal bands like Repugnant and Krisiun.

This is a standout album because it is distinct, built outward from the melodies and guitar riffs. While it doesn't match up to the greatest death metal albums, it is a contrast to a trend in death metal of emulating aesthetics and riffing style with no greater purpose. Perhaps it is for the best that it is not overbearing in tone nor atmosphere, because this reflects best on the themes of the music itself rather than simply aiming to strike once. Crossing the Bridge of Siraat is a journey worth taking.

Great blend of old and new elements - 89%

Kveldulfr, September 17th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Quite a pleasant surprise has been the 'discovery' of Oshiego. From the myriad of death metal bands trying to either play the same stuff Incantation did 20 years ago or the ones blasting like in a blastbest contest, Oshiego delivers all the fundamentals of death metal without falling in any of the aforementioned 'trends'.

One of the things that I like the most of 'Crossing the Bridge of Siraat' is how consistent and flowing it sounds, displaying a nice variety of influences. Songs often present changes in pace from lightning fast blasting like old Nile to more groovy oriented passages alas Bolt Thrower, like in 'Hypocrisy'. The band tries the best to mix OSDM elements with more modern brushes as it's shown on 'The Field Of Mahsyar', which features a moshpit inducing beat to be followed by brutal tremolo riffs, just to jump back to old school slower grooves; riffs are in abundance and they are mostly excellent, especially the Arghoslent-inspired bits on 'Inspiration From The Dark'. From what I've gathered, Oshiego used to feature more thrash elements, which are almost totally absent in this album.

The performances are all solid as an anvil, everything is played very professionally. Drums in particular seem programmed but they sound well enough, since this is only noticeable on the faster sections. Guitars have an excellent tone, which is heavy as hell and crisp. Bass can be heard and sounds well enough as well. Vocals are more into Van Drunen/Reifert school so no death metal fan should have a problem with them and fit really well the overall sound.

As expected from a mid-eastern band, there are bits of phrygian-like chords/leads that relate the sound to the band's origins and bring Nile to the listener's mind from time to time. The leads and solos are one of the things that make Oshiego gets closer to older bands, as they have taken the approach of bands like Master, Pestilence and even some Swedish death metal styled licks alas Entombed or Grave.

This album is recommended to mostly every death metal fan, being the OSDM fan base or the more modern oriented listeners. The songs are all good, but my preferred cuts are 'The Tree Of Zaqqum', 'The Pharaoh System','The Field Of Mahsyar' and 'Inspiration From The Dark'.

Hold your breath - 88%

iamntbatman, April 7th, 2015

Before you even turn this thing on you can tell it's going to be a different experience from previous Oshiego records. The Singapore thrashy death metallers have always had artwork that perfectly suited their sound - sharp, detailed and violent. This one, though, sports much more obscure, unsettling artwork. Vaguely human figures, dwarfed by their environs, interact with the strange alien landscape in ways that are hard to really grasp, one figure crossing the titular bridge while another, distorted by the otherdimensional perspective, appears to be either hanging onto the edge of the stark blue bridge (an unworthy soul, as the album title refers to the Islamic story of the crossing of the bridge to Hell) or possibly holding it aloft, preventing its collapse into the bright red flamewastes below, which would certainly put a strange spin on things.

The unusual artwork heralds a subtle, but significant change in direction in the band's sound, as well. Though Oshiego maintain their signature thrash-inflected razor-sharp, staccato mute-heavy riffing style of punishing old school death metal, there's a layer of red Martian haze floating all over this thing. For every neck-snapping, wall-punching chug there's a boiling, seething tremolo line that slops some Finnish grime into the atmosphere. Some of the guitar layering reminds me a lot of Behemoth's The Satanist (in a very good way), though this is murkier, trans-dimensional abbatoir stuff rather than decadent ritual music.

Crossing the Bridge of Siraat's production also really ties the room together. The guitar tone is really pretty much perfect for what the band is going for, with the signature tightness required for the band's more neck-snapping riffs but sort of a more mushy, amorphous high end, which smears reverby miasma over the ringing chords and heaps gloomy murk on the leads. The drum performance is top notch, but there's loads of room feel on the drum kit itself, which together with the guitars really adds a shitload of room to the sound of the album.

That's not to say that the band has gone all caverncore on us, either; there are still thuggish stomping breakdowns, punky, nearly crust bits ("Genocide, Torture, Rapture...") and there are still those vaguely Middle Eastern melodies that recall Melechesh scattered all over the place. The vocals mostly rely on the same pukey, mid-ranged barking growl of Oshiego albums of yore, but there are some sopping wet howls, hollers and shrieks that show a bit more adventurousness in the vocal delivery that I wish were utilized a bit more. While I love Master as much as the next guy, I'm also not really the biggest fan of covers in full-length albums, especially as closers, as I feel it nearly always acts as something of a jarring tonal shift and robs the band of a chance to end the album on a real statement. This cover is certainly good, but I would've rather heard some monstrous Oshiego epic as the album closer.

Though the bands aren't really directly comparable in sound, I would venture to compare this outing to recent German death metal darlings Sulphur Aeon. Both bands successfully marry a distinctly modern tightness and professionalism to a basic sound that is melodic and accessible while still having firm roots in old school death and, despite the modern sheen on everything, there's an inescapable scumminess that really adds a ton of depth and character to the album. That said, it does feel like the band are in a bit of a transition phase; the riffs and melodies aren't quite as direct or memorable as they were on the last album, and to successfully sell me on this new, somewhat more atmospheric direction I think they could turn knob up a bit on those newer elements to add a bit more emphasis to their much-welcomed presence. Nonetheless this is still a ripper of an album and a worthy addition to the Oshiego discography, and more than ever before I'm excited to hear where this band will take their sound in the future.