ObsequiaeI really enjoyed the debut album ‘Suspended In The Brume Of Eos’ from Minnesotan band Obsequae. Both the band name and the album title projected a real sense of intrigue and mystery before I even heard a note and luckily all expectations were reflected on getting to the music itself. It didn’t so much suspend but straddled two disparate yet distinct time lines as it embroidered a musical tapestry from both the past and the present together giving the resulting sound something both ethereal and timeless. The present is reflected in a blackened hue by rasping vocals and a bit of a traditional metallic weave whereas the past is projected by an almost medieval classical fashion that really has the listener stepping back to a different age within it. I guess I should try and explain this in the music itself a bit more though.

One thing I will say is that it is a totally unique and quite immersive experience and as I pressed play I was quickly aware that there is no other band that this could possibly be. Obsiquiae must have forged a very strong identity with their debut and although they have not really expanded upon it here they have taken a sidestep giving us a further insight into the mysterious path they have already trodden down.

The secret weapon here is Italian Vicente La Camera Mariño who plays a medieval harp and it is, after the sound of a bird call, the first thing we hear on opening instrumental Ay Que Por Muy Gran Fremosura. It is quite beautiful taking us back to the period of the medieval times and the renaissance. It is also used as short interludes for a bridge between the main tracks so you will have plenty more chances to get accustomed to it. From there a bell tolls and we get more of an insight into the sound of Tanner Anderson along with drummer Andrew D’Cagna of Brimstone Coven and the excellent Nechochwen. The guitar work is particularly noteworthy as it twists and turns constantly like a needle flying through a piece of rich embroidery and making a pattern with intricate and consummate skill. I know I keep making metaphors that pretentiously mention the arts but it is kind of what the music feels like and it’s difficult not to get carried away with it. As some choral parts add a touch of plainsong and thunder rumbles away in the distance listening to this is like sitting down to read a piece of great profound literature. There is a bit of an epic doom flavour instrumentally, vocally we get at times jubilant blackened rasps matching the swagger of the music and it’s this that’s the important part though and is full of melody throughout. Perhaps there is not a massive amount here to differentiate between individual tracks but it all gels together perfectly as one long unravelling mass. As for those guitars they kind of remind at times of a band such as Thin Lizzy more than anything else remotely contemporary that I can think of. Perhaps the only way you are really going to get a proper feel of exactly what I am attempting to explain though is to listen to the strange and haunting sound of Obsiquae yourself.

(8/10 Pete Woods)