In formative years all we heard was radio gaga, short songs designed for unchallenging airplay. Of course there was classical music and opera which lasted for several centuries but that was for fossils not for young kids with whole lives ahead of them. Naturally as years piled up exposure to other types of music led to an increase in compositional length, we had prog rock and the dinosaurs that played that could really plod on. Doom led to even further realms but could really send you to Sleep (pun completely intended) so I stuck largely to punk rock at least that was safe until The Damned went and dropped Curtain Call on me. Black metal at first seemed somewhat safe, short, sharp and shocking until I had another surprise in that respect on discovering Enslaved album Eld, “how dare they’ it’s like prog at the speed of light I thought” before falling absolutely head over heels with it. What I am getting at is that we are more used to songs that go on a bit today look at the recent Cultes Des Ghoules album with its 20 minute numbers for example. Obitus who were extreme enough in the first place have taken things to even more extremes though with their second album clocking in with just one track at a whopping 45 minutes and 42 seconds running time. For the genre this must be some sort of record; or CD as is the case with it arriving here.
I remembered this Swedish duo from 2009 album ‘March Of The Drones’ and although cannot remember what I said at the time, a play-through of this continuous yet divided by name in parts album shows what they were evilly formulating and I can assure droning is the last thing on their minds here. The cold, grim and militant album cover with prison like structure kind of shows you that once you have pressed play here there will be absolutely no chance of escape. One sharp note and everything drops in, in a hellish swarming blur. Guitars scythe, drums bounce and crunch and the vocals with sharp thorn laden sickness at their midst snap away along with the dense musical deluge. Dissonance and misanthropy are the key elements of focus here and that can be difficult enough to deal with for many in an average sized track and this is anything but. This is not black metal for weakeners or hipsters in any remote sense and they should be warned away to stick with their Deafheaven and Alcest albums.
There are obviously times when the music is left to slow down a little and weave away at a slightly slower pace but on the whole this is incredibly potent and vicious stuff and could easily be summed up with the description of “fucking hostile.” The production is suitably brash, snappy and powerful and you really get the rolling bounce of the drums powering through you along with the grating bite from the vocals. The lyrics are not at my disposal and in a way that’s probably a good thing as Johan Huldtgren, who provides them as Anders Ahlbäck plunders away at everything else, sounds mightily pissed off at the world. Like the actual song I could keep on and on as it does but that would get us nowhere. What I will say is that not only does it not run out of batteries but it somehow keeps interest levels up throughout duration, never becoming stale or boring and it has certainly not felt like an endurance test as I realise I should give it another play for reviewing purposes.
I’m not sure how natural the pair found putting this together, there is at times a certain jam element about it but we are not privileged to tales of whether they recorded it in one take or not. As for them playing it live…. Well there’s a thought but it would probably involve mass casualty both on and off the stage. This machine is definitely vast, become its slave if you dare!
(8/10 Pete Woods)