ReviewsOubliette - Eternity Whispers (The Artisan Era)

Oubliette – Eternity Whispers (The Artisan Era)

The cliché of claiming a band’s latest work is “the best thing they’ve ever done” has doubtlessly been an overused statement. Hell, yours truly has certainly been guilty of it, and it’s admittedly difficult when numerous bands keep stepping up and delivering on more profound levels than they have previously. Nevertheless, with our subject at hand Oubliette, that phrase very well may ring true once again.

The spousal team of Mike and Emily Low debuted their new endeavor in 2014 via Apparitions, which revealed the blueprint for something special, though not quite fully realized at that juncture. The Passage in 2018 did robustly confirm much of that potential, bursting with lush atmosphere and magnetic instrumentation to accompany their melodic black metal foundation. Now with the passage of six long years, Oubliette returns with Eternity Whispers in tow.

The general expectation for a band to at the least build upon what came before is a natural inclination. What this record delivers far eclipses even the most fantastical of hopes. The songwriting has taken a step up in cohesiveness, blending thick atmospheres with melody-draped guitar interplay, all with just the right amount of punch on the low end. Opener “Primordial Echo” builds gradually with clean strings to cultivate the intended tense aura, followed by Spencer Moore’s thundering percussion and an injection of dazzling guitar work to take the harmonic elements of melodic death metal and fuse them with blackened tremolos to form a concentrated assault. Lead vocalist Emily Low’s snarls are potent and cutting, adding needed sandpaper to balance out Oubilette’s sonic assault. Her vocal performance ascends to new heights on this record, bringing raw power and distinct nuance with every growl and scream.

Continuing on we have “With Death’s Shadow” giving an effusive lead that attaches itself onto one’s brain instantly, driven by a fast-paced tempo overflowing with energetic prowess. This song – and the album as a whole, in truth – flows organically between many memorable twists and turns that aren’t always expected, yet always remain focused while avoiding any jarring awkwardness.

Therein lies the key to the effectiveness of Eternity Whispers. The attention to every finite compositional detail elevates all of the band’s already prominent individual performances. Every melody, guitar passage, rhythmic beat, and roaring vocal is utilized to a high level of care and placement. From the exquisite heft and raspy growls that highlight “Desolate Path” and its Thulcandra vibes, to the cutting melodeath in a frosty black metal wrapper aspect of “Dreams of Nevermore,” there’s much to absorb. The riff barrage “Vanish” serves as a blistering closer that leaves an emphatic mark upon this otherwise refined album.

Eternity Whispers runs through its 39 minutes briskly, all the while being a deeply layered mosaic of soaring melodic black metal. A heavy emphasis on the melodic must be stated, as expecting something more thickly dissonant or incredibly heavy isn’t what Oubliette is going to deliver. Instead, the previously mentioned melodious sensibilities are at the foundation of the band’s music, and what an elaborately seminal representation of these characteristics is on offer. To those who crave furious, densely lavish black metal crafted with the greatest of care, then there’s no reason to not give Eternity Whispers a listen. Is this the band’s best work to date? For these ears, that damn cliché indeed does apply.

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9 / 10