Doom metal, we can immediately think US, England, or Sweden and maybe even Canada but Germany is never a country image that comes up with the mention of this genre. Thrash metal sure, death metal ok, but doom metal, not so much. Well it is time to dispel any myths or hesitancy that Germany can not produce quality doom because the quartet known as Obelyskkh (hope I spelled that one right) do it right and proper. I consider myself an aficionado of this genre and all its glorious sub genres but this band came out of left field and hit me upside the head with a proverbial doom laden brick. “White lightnin’” is their sophomore outing since coming together in bleakness around 2008.
This is “a-slow-trudge-through-the-black-forest-on-a-bleak-sunrise” kind of doom. The release weighs in at over an hour, which is a good indicator of what to follow. Short doom releases of this style is never a good sign. Its a great sign if you are listening to Pentagram, Bedemon, or Trouble but a bad sign if you are taking in the slow trudge offered by the likes of Pallbearer or Mournful Congregation. “White Lightnin’” opens in the psychedelic wings of ‘The Enochian Keys’, all instrumental, all Floyd-ish and we know we are in the for a long luxurious treat of the bleakest and darkest kind. First glimpse of vocals come in on ‘Elegy’ and wow AD LOW does an amazing of capturing the feel and fabric of what proper doom vocals should be. The chaps do not strum the same lower end chord progression for 15 minutes and label it as metal, they incorporate some really nifty space styled, stoner influenced, riffs and melodies that really sustain this track as well as the whole release.
To say that Obelyskkh has great variability and ability doesn’t even do them justice. They have a chemistry that is igniting on all fronts, bass, percussion, guitars, all synced to wretch out the best possible bleak noted music they can. They stand alone when need to and blend back in when demanded, in short, wonderfully assembled, grey sounds, that have been collected, mix and mastered as “White Lightin’”. ‘Amphetamine Animal’ has some really great bass stand out work contained within. With low end so accentuated here and in the style its great to hear the bass get some showcase work. This track has some really great stops and starts mindful of another great band that utilizes this trick albeit in a completely different genre, Gojira. Throw in some fuzz on top of the starts and stops, bass work and this track is certainly one of the highlights.
Well done Obelyskkh, if you missed their first release like me catch them here. They are certainly poised to make a mark world wide across on the various ponds there are. I am already into my fifth listen if that gives anyone an indication of how well this resonates with one doom aficionados. In short go get it, this is a must for doom metal fans and I daresay it will earworm its way into playlists of non-believers as well. Top shelf lads, top shelf!
Photo courtesy of Mike Wiener