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Rating:
8.5
Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother
15 November 2013


01. Lunar Caustic
02. Velorio
03. Waiting For The Bodies Down The River Floating
04. Feverish
05. Nasciturus
06. Meredith
07. Decimation
08. Void
09. The Presence Of Goddess


Here's what you need to know: a rift in post-metal has formed.

Its location: Poland.

Its meaning: mental torment.

As if the fixed and glassy gaze of Void Mother wasn't enough to lure you in, the music she beguiles you with has an even greater pull. Sanity fragmentation is what this is.

The sound well befits the band's name; Obscure indeed, as its irregularities emerge unexpectedly and much to the listener's surprise. Sphinx indeed, as their vocalist Zofia Fraś lashes the mind with her unnatural and mystical menace. Oh lord why was I invited here? Why did I accept the invitation? Why do I have no regrets?

The answer to all three of my questions is that this is a post-metal album with a strong identity and arguably one of the most original sounds the genre has spawned in recent years. You'll find expected trademarks of said genre here; it's climactic, it's contrasting between its moments of extremes and moments of deceptive tranquillity and it bursts with a sickening and thickening stream of sludge. Take, as an exemplary example, the track "Waiting For The Bodies Down The River Floating"; gradually the rotten remains of the sludge horrifically work their way to the surface to float atop the mix, flowing down an atmospheric river of post-metal. Imagine a less dense, more cavernous variant of the style pioneered by Neurosis.

There is much that distinguishes this band and their new album from the norm, the most obvious being the rather dark interpretation of the hardcore elements, which are expressed in aggressively lurching syncopation. Tracks like "Feverish" open in Battle Of Mice fashion with the guitar jarring along to rhythms which morph and shift as they await the caustic call of Zofia Fraś, who fills the void with mind rending vocal twists. In tracks like "Decimation" we receive impressions of folk acoustic which hint vaguely at an oriental sound amidst the demented, demanding and distorted sludge that is placed firmly over the track's post-metal base. A greater emphasis on this folk-like aspect would greatly enhance what is already quite an original sound.

What truly makes this album so captivating is the smaller pieces squeezed between the massive doom ridden trawls of the longer tracks, which do lose their potency at points due to their extensive nature. Those more concise interludes are highly atmospheric and completely immersive, managing to revert the problem of excessiveness or monotony established in some tracks. Take the three and a half minute "Void" which features one continuously but briefly expressed haunting chant placed within an echoing cavity of sound. It leads seamlessly into the album's finality entitled "The Presence Of Goddess" which collates all the albums assets into a singular and closing movement.

Once you've been drawn into the void, what awaits you is deliberately unnerving music for your perturbation. Mother won't save you. This is a seriously twisted kind of post-metal, a musical void in which the sludge is caught, trapped in a writhing mass that mashes your mind as it surfaces from the album's abyssal depths. You have been warned.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Band profile: Obscure Sphinx
Album: Void Mother


 



Written on 31.12.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››

Guest review by
LascaillesShroud

Rating:
10
Metal Storm helped me discover this band, one that, as you will soon realize, I have been completely and utterly seduced by.

Read more ››
published 12.02.2014 | Comments (4)



Comments

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Comments: 12  
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Diverge - 31.12.2013 at 04:55  
That was fucking amazing. Holy shit, that's a game-changer.
Chobo_jokeR - 31.12.2013 at 04:59  
I actually just finished listening to this album about an hour ago. I'd say this review is extremely accurate and well written. Good job!

I like the way you describe the music and the way it sounds. I also agree on the songs sometimes losing their way, since they are so long. The first half of the album was really blowing me away, and then it lost me for a bit, until the closer…which pulled me right back in.

Needs more listens, but a really strong album.
R'Vannith - 31.12.2013 at 06:11  
Written by Chobo_jokeR on 31.12.2013 at 04:59

I actually just finished listening to this album about an hour ago. I'd say this review is extremely accurate and well written. Good job!

I like the way you describe the music and the way it sounds. I also agree on the songs sometimes losing their way, since they are so long. The first half of the album was really blowing me away, and then it lost me for a bit, until the closer…which pulled me right back in.

Needs more listens, but a really strong album.


Cheers! It's quite the album with parts which pull you in more than others, but as a whole, brilliant stuff.
Monolithic - 31.12.2013 at 06:44  
A strong and captivating effort on its own indeed. Great job on the well-written review as well.
R'Vannith - 31.12.2013 at 06:52  
Written by Monolithic on 31.12.2013 at 06:44

A strong and captivating effort on its own indeed. Great job on the well-written review as well.


Thank you. I remember becoming familiar with this band through a well-written review of your own. I think the band are forging their identity with this new album.
Monolithic - 31.12.2013 at 08:10  
Written by R'Vannith on 31.12.2013 at 06:52

Thank you. I remember becoming familiar with this band through a well-written review of your own. I think the band are forging their identity with this new album.

Wow, I'm really glad to hear that. *blushes
Yeah I think their ability to achieve a unique identity and deliver quality music at the same time is a great example for other bands who wish to prevail.
Michaelis - 31.12.2013 at 13:07  
I'm proud of them! Great Job! So climatic and atmospheric...
psykometal - 31.12.2013 at 23:45  
Great review. And a fantastic release as well. The one post metal album that has managed to capture and hold my attention.
tea[m]ster - 01.01.2014 at 04:29  
This has been on my to-do list/playlist for a while now. After reading this review I am now going to press play
Sylence - 09.01.2014 at 23:23  
Just stumbled across this band yesterday while lost on the net. Checked out a song and was smiling from ear to ear. Looking for something to break the same old routine. Thought I'd read into the band a little more, to see what's being said about them. Soooo nice to have someone like you to nail a review like you just did. Could not be better written. Thank you. Now I may of found someone who knows what the hell they are talking about. Keep up the great work.
LascaillesShroud - 11.01.2014 at 23:06  
My copy finally arrived, after spinning it countless times on You Tube and playing it on repeat all day for the past 7 hours, I can say this is probably a flawless album to me. I understand some of the gripes of the review, although the extensive nature of those doomy parts is what I like about them. I get to revel in that dark corridor, awaiting the music to frantically change pace or end.

One of my top 10 albums of all time maybe, it surely is a monolithic achievement. This feels like musical evolution.
Merchant of Doom - 12.01.2014 at 13:38  
First album was great too... I'm not incredibly keen on the post-metal vocals, though...

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