Having been labelled as the ‘Phantom Of German Doom’ because of their self-proclaimed abstinence from record releases, the German doom merchants OBELYSKKH have suddenly become prolific in the art of committing their work to wax lately with their latest slab ‘White Lightnin’’ following hot on the heels of last years above average ‘Mount Nysa’ and why not? Having reviewed the previous album I jumped at the chance to see if the band had pushed on and mutated into a full blown version of the manifesto they hinted at last time out.
Without rushing to spoil the surprise, they have…
This album sees the vision of ‘Mount Nysa’ writ large, swelling the track list to seven slabs of mountainous doom that occupies an hours running time, the band have taken their meandering space rock tendencies and created a progressive yet captivating sonic collage of doom, sludge, jazz and kraut rock.
From the moment ‘The Enochian Keys’ starts the album it is a fascinating journey. The opening instrumental is epic and mesmerizing, heavy yet light, dare I say almost Angelic… it is clear as it was last time out that these tracks have evolved from jams in the rehearsal room and honed to within and inch of their lives, creating this blend of synth and muscular rock. The interplay and chemistry between the band members is clearly OBELYSKKH’s strength, whether they are creating a cavernous groove, teasing out the feedback or sending shivers up and down your spine with a snaking guitar melody, there is poise and a balance that hits all the right notes.
When Ad Low finally joins the party vocally (as opposed to merely duelling with Stuart West on guitar…) his voice adds several other dimensions to the band from the menacing intonations and full throated guttural roar of ‘Elegy’, which has influences of Neurosis and the Melvins, to the dirgy multi-layered dimensions of ‘Mount Nysa’ which recalls early Alice In Chains.
Last time out I felt that the elongated jam sessions could often lose the listener and they needed more moments of standout quality to keep interest levels high and I am pleased to say that they have, as this was a record I genuinely enjoyed listening to from start to finish as for all it’s indulgent, psychedelic moments, it’s synth heavy weirdness and it’s drawn out ringing interludes, the album flows from one track to the next like a well crafted whole piece of music.
Produced again by the legend that is Billy Anderson (somebody please tell Exile on Mainstream’s website that unless he has past without the internet knowing, he is thankfully not the ‘late, great’) this album should easily top their debut, although given that that record sold out in 3 weeks, I’d be quick of the mark to order a copy ‘White Lightnin’’ if I was you.
Sometimes trying to describe a bands’ music can strip all the fun out of it. Sometimes it’s a joy to express how much you enjoyed listening to a new record. This was easily one of those latter times, simply OBELYSKKH rock.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden