I picked up Obelyskkh for evaluation for 2 causes. First, it was tagged as doom / sludge within the promo sump, a positive option to get the
sharks shark circling and, secondly, that paintings. Now it’s true that, as Cherd‘s overqualified eye noticed at first look, the picture is AI generated (apparently by feeding the related program on a food plan of Obelyskkh lyrics) nevertheless it’s additionally true, in my opinion no less than, that it’s fucking cool. Will confirmed AI paintings be eligible for the one prize in artwork that issues, GardensTale‘s finish of 12 months High Ten(ish) Album Artwork record? Solely GT can inform us however for now, it’s my favourite cowl of the still-young 12 months. As for the slab o’ sludge it’s wrapped round, properly, let’s see, lets?
Germany’s Obelyskkh have been knocking round for some time now, having dropped their full-length debut, Mount Nysa, in 2011. The Final Grace of God is the band’s fifth album and comes 5 years after their final, with the intervening interval seemingly beset by COVID- and cash-driven troubles that delayed it repeatedly. Now all the way down to a guitar-bass-drum trio, second guitarist Stuart “The WhizKid” West having left in 2017, Obelyskkh has leaned right into a tough, virtually punky, type of noise sludge, that owes a reasonably vital debt to the likes of Melvins, The Jesus Lizard and even Dwarves. Removed from the majestically crushing sound I’d hoped for, and having ditched the synth-driven psychedelic nods of their very own earlier work, The Final Grace of God is a stripped-back, uncooked affair that sees Obelyskkh swaddle themselves in a heavy cloak of fuzz and reverb, as they drudge their approach by the album’s 71-long, lengthy minutes.
Guitarist Loopy Woitek handles vocals, which oscillate between a hoarse, croaking whisper and a harsh nasal shout that hardly ever reaches the bellowed depth of your regular doomy sludge fare, like early Mastodon. His work on guitar is simple, majoring in repetitive, down-tuned riffs underscored by thudding bass strains courtesy of Seb Duster, with little to tell apart observe from observe. Equally, the efforts of Steve “The Krusher” Paradise (I’m counting on Steel Archives for these names…) behind the equipment are finest described as uninspired. Not poor per se, simply bland and workmanlike. Satirically, Obelyskkh are at their finest after they enterprise out of the sludge pool they inhabit, like on the closely distorted, d-beat opening to The Final Grace of God’s title observe or within the center sections of that tune, which drop off into contemplative, melodic post-metal territory. Equally, 14-minute epic “Afterlife” sees much more melody and nuance creep into Obelyskkh’s sound and, though it’s a observe that would stand to lose about half its runtime, there’s some high quality stuff in there.
Sadly, the identical can’t be mentioned of the even-longer album nearer, “Sat Nam (Imaginative and prescient)”, which crawls in direction of its (and the album’s) conclusion in a slowly swirling sea of synths, wind noises and vaguely sepulchral or ritualistic chanted passages, and is exactly the unsuitable option to end fairly properly any album. The primary few occasions I spun The Final Grace of God, it struck me as a stable sufficient, if moderately by-product, sliver of sludge, closely influenced by crust punk and, at simply 40-minutes, that was OK. Not nice however … nice. Then, I found that, for no matter motive, the album’s two longest cuts (“Afterlife” and “Sat Nam (Imaginative and prescient)”) had did not course of correctly. After fixing that, I used to be out of the blue offered with a further half hour and alter of extra experimental, psychedelic-tinged, post-metal and noise. To be sincere, I most well-liked my first expertise of Obelyskkh, not least as a result of it completed considerably faster.
The general package deal is additional let down by the manufacturing. I see what Obelyskkh was going for, with a tough, fuzzed, virtually desert stoner sound, however the outcome misses the mark, with the whole lot so warped and distorted that any nuance is drowned in suggestions and static hiss, whereas the guitar and bass additionally smother the drums for a lot of The Final Grace of God. Other than the ultimate observe, there’s nothing horrible within the materials right here. Moderately, it’s the cumulative impact of poor manufacturing, huge—and unjustified—runtime and monotonous, forgettable songwriting for a lot of the fabric, which euthanizes this album. Obelyskkh seems like it’s missing in inspiration however has gone all in on a mammoth album however. Apparently impressed by a hair salon in a moderately rundown suburb of Antwerp referred to as ‘The Final Grace of God’, The Final Grace of God has all the glint of the conversations I used to have whereas getting a brief again and sides. Now bald, I can dispense with these conversations and, fortunately, with this album additionally.
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Exiles on Mainstream Information
Web sites: obelyskkhnoise.bandcamp.com | fb.com/thebelyskkhritual
Releases Worldwide: January twenty seventh, 2023