The Ox - Obsidian review

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Band: The Ox
Album: Obsidian
Release date: July 2013

01. Ritual
02. The Gathering
03. Ethereal Journey
04. Wisdom
05. Souls Collide
06. Ivory Temple
07. Drifting Out To Sea
08. Obsidian
09. The All Seeing Eye

Obsidian is a complex progressive metal album pulling in post and sludge elements with each track connecting seamlessly with the next. Things seem to move along effortlessly in this often technical and interconnected effort as a diverse range of influential sounds are brought under control. The strength of The Ox is their ability to fix all the pieces of this debut into position to create a well crafted whole.

The scope is ambitious as it incorporates a range of progressive influences, the more prominent being such bands as Gojira, Mastodon, Opeth and Intronaut. While the comparisons are noticeable none are reflected within particular tracks to the point of mere imitation.

Technically minded progheads will likely feel at home in the first few tracks but things really kick off for me with "Souls Collide" with the enormity of its rollicking riffs. A monumental collision between Gojira and Mastodon it builds up to a powerful cascade of guitar work and explosive drums. The following "Ivory Temple" is a brief transitional holding an intricate acoustic with an Opethian keyboard passage.

Perhaps the most ambitious song is the title track which sees a broad range of ideas expounded as the psychedelic introductory guitar line, surprisingly reminding me of Rishloo, subtly shifts into a passage taking on a post metal vein with a tremolo and loaded with a thickly irregular bass line. Following a segment of hazy ambience filled with slow drum beats it soon lets loose some soothing saxophone.

Vocal work is often stylistically similar to that of Gojira but possessive of a more growled less shouted nature. The instrumentation receives more attention however, with the vocals being appropriately buried within the mix to a sufficient depth to allow the complexities of the guitars to hold the focal point.

The dynamic nature of the record seems best displayed in the latter half, the initial run of tracks forming a collective that isn't quite as distinctive. As its title may hint at the variable "Drifting Out To Sea" is initially reminiscent of The Ocean but its near ten minute scope sees consistent changes to the song's structure.

It isn't because the ideas in "The Gathering", "Ethereal Journey" and "Wisdom" are convoluted that makes them less interesting for me but they are more technically demanding and lack the same organic fusion between progressive and post metals which occurs in the tracks to follow. The latter is an instrumental which shifts significantly around its mid section, from which noticeable changes in pacing begin.

The Ox have established their sound in a strong and ambitious debut and with their unique potential they can further distance themselves from the bands from whom they drawn inspiration.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 20.08.2013 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 152 users
20.08.2013 - 01:17
Seeker of Truth
The review is a little incoherent, but I think I got the idea how this will sound... will check them out. Thanks!
Savor what you feel and what you see
Things that may not seem important now
But may be tomorrow

R.I.P. Chuck Schuldiner

Satan was a Backstreet Boy
21.08.2013 - 09:39
Merchant of Doom
Pretty good album, imo...
24.08.2013 - 17:17
I like it.
26.12.2013 - 19:48
Au Pays Natal
Great review R'. You sum the sound very nicely.

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