[Hypnotic Dirge Records]
[released February 16, 2017]
Everyone with the slightest interest in metal (should) know about the Edge Of Sanity epos Crimson. Released in 1995, it’s a 40+ minutes long single death metal song that goes through bouts of fast riffing and groovy drumming, interwoven with harmonic slow passages with clean singing. It’s an amazingly coherent mix of moods that drives the dystopian backstory forward. The sequel, Crimson II, continues the story, but does so in a much more fragmented way. Crimson II sounds like a score of single riffs, whereas Crimson (1) really sound like one long song recorded live in the studio. With Slaves Of The Vast Machine, Obitus beats the track length of both Crimson albums, and does so without ever letting their metaphorical foot off your face (from the press release, which says: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever”).
From the get-go, SOTVM blasts forth with dissonant tremolo riffing and insanely fast and variegated drumming. The whole image this album conveys is super dark, super bleak, super aggressive. The screamed vocals on top are doing nothing to light up the atmosphere.
Johan Huldtgren (all lyrics & vocals) and Anders Ahlbäck (all music & instruments) started Obitus in Gothenburg in the year 2000. They appeared on a four-sided split in 2001 and released a three track EP in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they released their debut album, March Of The Drones. While the debut is solid and also built as a single unit (though, with seven tracks), SOTVM is its own beast entirely. I really hope that Obitus finds the audience that I know is out there with the release of Slaves Of The Vast Machine. This album coulda-shoulda appeal to anyone into black metal, but also noise, industrial, sludge, even doom (although Obitus are not slow) and anyone who likes music with screamed vocals/growling.
There really are no holds barred on the intensity of this song, but when the screaming leads of the guitar breaks through it’s at its best, and especially in the last five minutes of the song where everything climaxes and then slowly drifts away. But be aware, this song will stay with you even after its closing.
TBOJ score: 4.5/5
DR score: 5