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Cymbals and Feet of Steel trudge across the town - 92%

HammerOfDeath, October 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, The Bird's Robe Collective (Digipak)

Among many other reasons, this album is why I firmly believe metal to be the most enjoyable genre, not the best one mind you (not arguing that), but overall the most amusing, entertaining and downright satisfying. Where else can you find something so hopeless as depressive black metal, and then something so optimistic as power metal; something so fast as the aptly called speed metal, and something so slow as the suitably labeled funeral doom metal; something so traditional as Black Sabbath, and then something so unusual as Troldhaugen. The differences between Black Sabbath and Troldhaugen are so stark and numerous, that it begs to question why are these two bands labeled metal, but isn't that the beauty of this genre? So versatile, expansive and accepting of all forms of expression, you can virtually satiate any musical craving you might have.

So where does Obzkure Anekdotez for Maniakal Massez sits in? Well, the band isn't original per se, many bands, in order to be somewhat innovative, they merge the styles of 2 or 3 or even 4 different bands. Troldhaugen does exactly that, they picked up Diablo Swing Orchestra, Finntroll, and Sigh, stuffed the essential of those bands into a blender, pressed the power button, and a minute later, this jumbo mess came out. I'm making it sound like it's something that any band can pull off, but it really isn't and that's why this release is so special, it heavily derivates, but it's very natural and enjoyable.

Opening with the weirdly titled "Table of Contents", the band almost fools you into thinking you're going into a cooky horror inspired album, but as the fake orchestra barges in on "Hunting Tactics for Mythical Creatures", suddenly they're juggling symphonic power metal, folk, swing, opera, prog, and holy shit! What messed up album have I got myself in? I'm not exaggerating, this album is everywhere and tries everything, throwing different sounds on the wall and seeing what sticks, but unlike an ape flinging shit at peasants in the local zoo, these guys are masters at musical transitions, giving the album an insanely rare amount of ebb and flow. Despite the sheer quantity of variation, there's also speed, that's right! The music here is quite fast as well, not speed metal levels, but up-tempo nonetheless.

To be honest, I'm struggling to come up with adequate phrases to accurately describe the music here, the problem is that it's so varied on so many levels, that I can't quite express it. It's exotic, wacky, vibrant, aggressive, melodic, and creative. It's folkloric, operatic, dramatic, circus-like, a cabaret show, horror themed. It's a crazy wild mess and has no right to be as amazing as it is, but somehow they pull it off, masterfully and gracefully. It's definitely amazing that they are capable of using so many styles in so little time and so deliciously, but what's more impressive is the amount of vocal styles they employ and how great they all sound. There're many types of rough voices and clean styles that range from opera to western spaghetti.

I still can't believe this album exists, sometimes it almost doesn't make sense that something so stunning, so... everything can exist. Maybe some subgenres have stagnated to the point that there's almost no innovation in it, but metal, as a whole, is far from stagnation, especially when we have albums like this one coming out in 2014. Records that have the balls to push the boundaries of metal further, that attempt to be different, that are as bizarre as they are enjoyable. We need more Obzkure Anekdotez for Maniakal Massez!