Ordo Obsidium - Orbis Tertius
Not that it much matters, but until I heard about Ordo Obsidium, I had no prior knowledge of any black metal existing in the bay area of California. I'm sure this is just my inexperience with the particular scene talking, but right off the bat the location of this new group is a bit refreshing from the typical thrashy sounds one might be accustomed to hearing from that neck of the woods. From what I can tell, Orbis Tertius is their debut record, dropping early October, and from what I can hear, it has a ton of promise.
Ordo Obsidium's sound is a depressive, doom-infused blend of black metal, purposefully underproduced for the sake of impacting and embracive atmosphere. "Nequaquam Vacuum" is a lengthy opener, that immediately demands attention in an aggressive, blast-beating manner before taking you on the journey proper through melodically hyperactive while contradicting it's up-beat style with drawn out, down-tuned and a crushing depressive atmosphere. It shifts and stirs in impressive fashion, but certain sections are certainly far too drawn out and repetitive. This is the major complaint I have with the majority of Orbis Tertius. "Into The Gates of Madness" may have been a more apt opener, as it has much more oomph and much less drab in it's shorter, more compact length. But it doesn't fully over the general depth of musical styles the band incorporates, so I suppose the opposite also holds true. This track is incredibly reminiscent of early-era Emperor or perhaps Pre-Filosofem Burzum, very natural and classic-sounding black metal. The title track proper grinds on at an agonizingly slow pace, utilizing a melody that threatens to build into something much more grand but deceptively never does, a nuance that lends credence to the depressive atmosphere of the song. "Emptiness under the Moon" is terrific at first, but quickly grates at your nerves sometime before the chaos breaks down and reverses course. "By His Unflinching Hand" is the ultimate representative of how good Ordo Obsidium can be, an expertly written doom/black metal track that expands upon itself without any uneccesary repetition. The outro is also a nice, acoustic distraction from the noise of the rest of the record.
Credit where it's due, newcomers Ordo Obsidium have shown a potential for impact with their debut, Orbis Tertius. The chops are there, the songwriting can and should evolve and, as long as chemistry remains, this band can evolve into one of the better in a genre currently lacking any overwhelming identity in terms of mainstays and true forerunners.
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