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Oubliette - Eternity Whispers review

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Band: Oubliette
Album: Eternity Whispers
Style: Melodic black metal
Release date: June 2024

01. Primordial Echo
02. With Death’s Shadow
03. Consumed By The Void [ft. Dave Palenske]
04. Desolate Path
05. Dreams Of Nevermore [ft. Stevie Boiser]
06. Ember’s Embrace [ft. Ben Karas]
07. Vanish

As numerous as the melodic black and melodic death metal bands of the world are, the overlap between the two styles has not been explored as extensively as one might anticipate. Albums as mesmerizing as Oubliette’s Eternity Whispers raise the question of why more bands aren’t ploughing this fertile ground.

Eternity Whispers is the third album from the Nashville ensemble, and the third album to feature a different drummer; this time around, Spencer Moore joins former Inferi bandmate Mike Low and his wife Emily Low in the ever-revolving roster surrounding this central duo. This latest album also features the recording debuts in Oubliette for bassist Cole Gerdeman and guitarist Chris Austin, and the six-piece’s efforts are further augmented by guest vocal cameos from Steve Boiser (also Inferi) and Dave Palenske (Volcandra), along with violin from Thank You Scientist’s Ben Karas. There’s a lot of talent behind Eternity Whispers, and it translates into an intensely impressive record.

One thing that might stand out early on when listening to this album is the production, and more specifically the low presence of Emily Low’s raspy vocals in the mix; it does seem a bit weird to bury the contributions of one of the band’s perennial members in this manner, but perhaps there’s a conceptual link to the album title that motivated this ‘whispering’ volume of the vocals. Aside from the vocals, however, the album is mixed in a way that allows the instruments to come through pretty clearly, particularly the guitars, which traverse melodic black and death territory with the use of bright tremolo riffs, punchier melodeath riffs, and lots of hooky Gothenburg/NWOAHM-influenced guitar leads.

With a runtime below 40 minutes, Eternity Whispers is a compact album, and hardly a second of it is wasted. There’s a tranquil, atmospheric introduction to the first song, but it lasts just long enough to accomplish the goal of ‘setting a vibe’ before transitioning into stirring melancholia, as elaborate guitar leads dance around frozen melodeath/black riffs powered along by Moore’s rampant, double bass-heavy drumming. “Primordial Echo” makes evident Oubliette’s keen ear for melody, intelligent songwriting nous and ability to maintain a conveyor belt of great musical ideas right from the off. There’s a detour later on towards a slight blackgaze vibe that fits seamlessly alongside the material that comes before and follows it, foreshadowing the band’s willingness to go in unexpected directions as and when it’s called for.

“Primordial Echo” feels perhaps closest to Finnish melodeath when trying to pin it down to any one style, but immediately afterwards, the group go towards folk/pagan metal on the more blackened “With Death’s Shadow”, the closing minutes of which feature some (similarly quiet) clean singing from Low to contrast her predominantly extreme vocal style. While Oubliette’s songwriting is mostly melodic, they’re not held back from injecting a darker or more complex edge into their writing, particularly on the song “Consumed By The Void”. There’s passages in this song that take my mind to An Abstract Illusion’s Woe, but also other sections that almost threaten to descend into dissonance.

“Consumed By The Void” is probably the pinnacle of the album in terms of intensity and darkness, but the following songs have their own charms, whether it be the sorrowful guitar solos and harmonies in “Desolate Path”, or the emphatic and emotionally powerful closing minutes in “Dreams Of Nevermore”, during which Oubliette use an oscillating motif as the launchpad to continuously ratchet up the intensity and the stakes. This may well be the pinnacle of Eternity Whispers when it comes to quality, but in truth there’s really nothing across the album’s duration that could be considered inferior; “Ember’s Embrace” offers a pleasant change of pace by slowing things down and calming the waters in temporarily giving Karas’ violin time to shine, while “Vanish” makes for a rampant, blast-heavy conclusion to the record.

Eternity Whispers is a juggernaut of melodious intensity, one that balances an emphasis on hooks with frenetic energy. The latest iteration of Oubliette has come out firing on all cylinders on this album; fingers crossed they can stay intact a while longer and deliver more metal of this calibre soon.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 7

Written on 20.06.2024 by Hey chief let's talk why not

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