REVIEW: Obsequiae – Aria of vernal Tombs

The Renaissance period is widely considered to be the bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history, and Aria of Vernal Tombs is a testament to the brilliant art that can be created by bridging two very distinct periods of sound together. Using the glorious tradition of sense of melody and song from our collective past and coupling that with of the joys of modern day Extreme Metal is no easy feat, but Obsequiae manage to pull this off harmoniously.

My first experience of listening to this album came whilst walking from my nearest medieval castle ruin (the joys of living in Wales) down a coastal path and I couldn’t think of a more apt setting to do so than with Aria of Vernal Tombs, its triumphant melodies being embedded into my brain ever since.

Obsequiae were born out of the ashes of Black/Death Metal band Autumnal Winds and make use of the skills and compositions of mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Tanner Anderson. First track ‘Ay Que Por Muy Gran Fremosura’ is a continuation of the style laid down on the band's exceptional debut Suspended in the Brume of Eos, with a beautiful and gently picked intro track. This works as a perfect mood setter, introducing any new listeners to the band's often dream like atmosphere and romanticism of the mind that harks back to a historic and more beautiful time in western history.

The second track ‘Autumnal Pyre’ opens with a slow build into an intricate opening riff with the guitars being at the forefront of the sound whilst the drums sit behind it all, the pace slowly picking up to a grand and epic crescendo. The four year wait was certainly worth it. The particular joy that this album offers is that it sits as one long, coherent piece of music as opposed to a variety of tracks that have seemingly been lashed together. With choral and harp picked interludes serving to stitch together the main pieces into a beautiful 44 minute tapestry of sound, highlight 'The Anchoress’s Orison’ is an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful piece of music that lays within. Utilising Black Metal particularly in the vocals department but also adding additional medieval instrumentation and some shred guitar work, Obsequiae manage to never fall into the clichés that most bands who hark their sound back to a bygone era do, such as beer hall chants and often jig type music which is a style that is quickly becoming less and less appealing to the general masses and hardcores alike.

With Obsequiae, the Metal section of work is a wonderful blend of Black Metal with a generous helping of the more traditional forms of Doom Metal and particularly on ‘Until Age’s fall’ and ‘In The Absence of light' a lavish sprinkling of the more atmospheric strains of Melodeath are present in a style that I’m sure Agalloch Fans will adore. The album's last three tracks steer away from the more beautiful passages of the first 2/3rds, with a more straight forward approach in a Black Metal vein that still makes great use of the intricacies of Tanner Anderson’s playing, with ‘Wilweorthunga’ and 'Orphic Rites of The Mystic’ being particularly twisted and blackened delights.

Overall an absolutely fantastic album that I’d recommend to fans from all spheres of the metal world, particularly those of such a wide contingent of bands as Moonsorrow, Windir and even Slough Feg. With most tracks having a short running time the album doesn't suffer being over long, something which seems to dog so many modern metal albums. Get it from the 20 Buck Spin digital store here now and mail order for physical copies.

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Artist - Jesters of Destiny
Title - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown
Label - Ektro

Thirty years after Jesters of Destiny arrived, dropped Fun at the Funeral and disappeared back into the night, they’re finally back with a second full length release courtesy of Ektro Records, and whilst it could never live up to first album, the eccentricity of the band shines through once more and it’s a crazy ride from start to finish. Pick it up on April 4th!



Artist - Hammerfest IX
Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

One of our main highlights of the year, this month we’re off to Wales for Hammerfest, HRH’s Heavy Metal flagship. With the return of two Power Metal titans alongside a host of others, this year looks to be one of their best ever. We’ll be covering the whole festival and conducting interviews as well so lookout for the cameras!