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Cruciamentum - Obsidian Refractions review

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Band: Cruciamentum
Album: Obsidian Refractions
Release date: November 2023

01. Charnel Passages
02. Abhorrence Evangelium
03. Necropolis Of Obsidian Mirrors
04. Scorn Manifestation
05. Interminable Rebirth Of Abomination
06. Drowned

Reinventing the lineup doesn't always come with reinventing the wheel, and following up a landmark album doesn't always have to completely disappoint or completely live up to the hype. Here's Cruciamentum finally following up their debut after eight years.

It would be wrong to say that Cruciamentum started with 2015's Charnel Passages, since the band was formed an entire decade before that, and the band has released three shorter releases prior, among which I've seen the Convocation Of Crawling Chaos demo from 2009 getting the most rave reception. But it would be unfair to say that Charnel Passages wasn't what really put Cruciamentum on the map with its doomy but still technical enough branch of caverncore that has often been described as a mix of Incantation and Immolation, at a time when this style of OSDM was all the rage, preceding similarly landmarkable debuts by Chthe'ilist, Spectral Voice, and Exlimitir. Eight years later, it is still Cruciamentum that got a headstart on following up the landmark debut.

Well, it is a bit improper to say that Cruciamentum are back to follow up Charnel Passages when three of the four members that appeared on that album are no longer in the band. Out of the four members currently in the band, only original member Dan Lowndes still remains, and one other member has been on the 2017 Paradise Envenomed EP, with the two others making their debut on a Cruciamentum release with Obsidian Refractions. What makes it feel even more like a different band is Dan Lowndes' vocals taking a backing role this time around with lead vocal duties taken on by new bassist Chris Eakes, which has a slightly different tone that I honestly like less than Lowndes'. With all the stylistic similarities that are close to identical, Obsidian Refractions feels too far removed from Charnel Passages.

Trends come and go and Charnel Passages might've benefited from being in the right place at the right time. Context shouldn't have as strong of an impact on the album's quality, a good death metal album is a good death metal album, which Obsidian Refractions definitely is, but the saturation of the OSDM genre along with the new lineup making the album feel less distinct does lead to a bit of a "deja vu" feeling. Cruciamentum do their share of making sure there's a neat balance between the more intense moments and the more atmospheric ones. The riffing and the drum work in the intense moments feels really top notch, and the way that these interplay with the doomier and more melodic moments feels organic in its flow. The highlight in that regard is the ten minute closer "Drowned" that takes a more loose and less structured approach to inject some drone and chaotic moments into the usual mix.

Obsidian Refractions does end up falling in the middle of a lot of things. It's not generic enough to be average, but it's not remarkable enough to be memorable. It does more than do its job of delivering headbangable moments and even shows some stylistic ambition, but very little of it leaves as lasting of an impression as I hoped it would.

Written on 05.12.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 58 users
05.12.2023 - 14:49

Great review Pal I didn’t know the band but I will check
Maybe as his eyes are wide.

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