Title: Black Death Horizon
Label: Indie Recordings
Review by Sythanagon
Norway’s Obliteration are not only known for being native to the hometown of death/black/crust/heavy music heroes Darkthrone, but also for the gushing praise about the band given by none other than Fenriz of said throne of darkness. The young band has come a long way since their 2007 debut, Perpetual Decay, which was a short but ultimately effective burst of classic old school death metal revival. It was derivative, sure, but it was damn good. Then came their 2009 masterpiece, Nekropsalms, which carved the band in their own image, they created their own niche with a more unique and identifiable sound. That’s a tough feat in and of itself: death metal is a very diverse genre, and with the overwhelming amount of bands in the last five or so years that have been resurrecting that classic old school sound has been refreshing, but nothing new. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—there’s nothing like hearing classic styles being brought into the modern age with force and determination—but you can only hear so many Incantation worship bands before it starts to become a little grating. Obliteration doesn’t have this problem.
Black Death Horizon is the natural evolution after Nekropsalms. Throughout the album, most of it will be familiar: it opens up with these heavy, doom-laden riffs and it gradually builds momentum into fast, hard-hitting jams that make you want to head bang, or smash something, or mosh, or all three. It’s fantastic, Sindre Solem’s vocals are those frantic and off-kilter wails that just chill your blood. Didrik Telle’s bass is thick and reverberating and just filthy with its unbelievably heavy and chunky sound. The riffs go from their doomy style to catchy, balls-to-the-wall death metal insanity in a heartbeat. There are some noticeable differences, namely the solos. Throughout Black Death Horizon, guitarist Arlin Torp lays down some of the most insanely satisfying solos you’ll hear on a modern death metal record, and it just brings the music to an entirely new level. The four solos captured within the first two tracks were enough to physically leave my jaw dropped at just how monolithic it was. If you’ve heard any previous Obliteration albums, you’ll know how unfathomable the drummer Kristian Valbo is. He creates some incredible fills and intros to songs and his intensity behind the kit is a beauty to behold. From terrifically fiery blast beats to some very punk-influenced d-beat styles in his drumming, it’s what really helps bring this album into the spotlight. It’s not often you find a death metal record with drumming this diverse, this cacophonous and well executed.
Black Death Horizon is incredible. In terms of production, it’s well rounded, fuller sounding thanNekropsalms and every instrument is crisp and audible but still sounds plain dirty. The music and the production are brought together hand-in-hand to deliver the best death metal experience possible. With the band’s uncanny ability to shift between slower, doom/death segments, mid-paced Bolt Thrower-esque jams, and greatly gratifying all-out death metal speediness, it’s tough to fault these guys. They’re bringing the best of all worlds, and it doesn’t get old any time quick. Black Death Horizon is without a doubt one of the absolute finest death metal records you’ll listen to this year, if not the finest. With the band having every aspect of the music nailed to near-perfection, we have found death metal’s newest sweethearts.