Oxblood Forge – Cult of Oblivion (Self-Released)Wednesday, 28th June 2023
The productivity of many musicians under lockdown will probably reap massive results for years as new releases hit the marketplace. Following up their previous album from 2021 Decimator, Massachusetts act Oxblood Forge continue to deliver their special brand of heavy metal with stoner, doom, and classic rock inflections on their latest EP Cult of Oblivion. Getting their collective feet underneath them with live gigs on an East Coast tour with Spiral Grave and Mourn the Light plus opening for acts like Manilla Road, Anvil, and Magic Circle, it’s quite apparent that they feel very confident in terms of songwriting, performances, and stylistic choices through these latest four songs.
The four-piece has added rhythm guitarist Steve Nelson (ex-Grief/Dread) to the lineup to become a quintet, bolstering the axe capabilities as far as counterpoint movements or stronger instrumental sequences during the lead break passages. Channeling their inner “Children of the Grave” doom groove mannerisms for the early portions of “Upon the Altar”, you can expect an interesting progressive twist from drummer Erik Fraunfelter through his thunderous fills as vocalist Ken MacKay belts out some higher screams that wrap around the circular musical output. When you want to throw up devil horns while incessantly headbanging your way to insanity, look no further than the NWOBHM-like “Mask of Satan”, featuring some evil low talking passages where exciting, almost Mercyful Fate-ish guitar lines sprout up during the ending moments. Wasting no time getting to the energetic point, the title track opener should galvanize the metal troops, it’s shape shifting atmosphere being very thrashy one minute, then settling into a Trouble/Crowbar-ish vibe in another instant to keep ears pinned for what hook will wallop them next. Choosing a different studio and recording engineer this time around (The Red Room in Attleboro, MA with James Gazerro) presents Oxblood Forge with a bit livelier, in the raw overtone – capturing more of what you would expect when taking in a live performance.
Cult of Oblivion should keep the interest abuzz for Oxblood Forge not only in New England, but all points beyond. Those who love 70’s/80’s influenced heavy metal with nods to doom, stoner, even classic rock or thrash nuances, get ready for some solid, crushing material here.