Obliteration – Black Death Horizon (Relapse Records)

Friday, 1st November 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Norway and death metal aren’t exactly synonymous but Obliteration is doing their best to change that.  Hailing from the same town that brought us Darkthrone, Obliteration pass themselves off as equally grimy and raw.  Black Death Horizon is Obliteration’s third release of filthy retro-death metal and their first for heavy-hitters Relapse Records.

When throwing around the term retro-death metal, it’s easy to get caught up in the recent onslaught of bands doing their absolute best to play a carbon copy of Left Hand Path.  Thankfully Obliteration have done their homework and decided that variety is indeed the spice of (decaying) life.  With some reference to their hometown, a notable addition of raw black metal grimness and small dose of punk attitude have been injected along with a hint of doom.  The mixture never seems forced, and allows for lengthier tracks like the nearly 8-minute “Transient Passage” to run their course without overstaying their welcome.  The only exception to this is the seemingly unnecessary closing instrumental “Churning Magma”, that functions more as background than an actual song.

While the abrasive production and lack of gurgled vocals will certainly keep the lovers of modern death metal away, those who can see past it will find an album more unique than it’s cover may indicate.  It’s nice to hear a band that while wearing its influences on its sleeve, isn’t afraid to change things up enough to make it their own.  The increasingly overcrowded retro scene could use more bands like this.

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