Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother review
|Release date:||November 2013|
01. Lunar Caustic
03. Waiting For The Bodies Down The River Floating
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.
||Written on 31.12.2013 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.|
|Metal Storm helped me discover this band, one that, as you will soon realize, I have been completely and utterly seduced by.
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