Praise and acclaim always has more force when it is delivered with a flurry of excitement and this is the fuel to our words on the new album from Greek metallers Obzerv. A ferocious cauldron come unpredictable kaleidoscope of sound embracing a broad landscape of metal, Acherontia Atropos is an irresistible voracious predator revelling in a world heading to its own end of days.
Maybe the triumph of Acherontia Atropos is not as major surprise as it could have been thanks to a debut album five years ago which awoke the metal scene to the Rethymno, Crete hailing outfit. Released via Greek label Trailblazer Records, it too garnered potent attention and recognition the way of the band but in hindsight merely sowed the seeds to the ravenous craft, ruthless temptation, and imagination bred agility of its successor.
Cast in the threads of modern metal lined with progressive imagination and rich technical dexterity, and with glorious artwork to match, Acherontia Atropos needed mere breaths to have ears and intrigue closely involved as opener, That Defining Moment followed its initial coaxing sonic lures with an imposing trespass of power and sound. Despite the threat of that thick infringement there is only invitation to its nature and adventure in the textures making up its incitement. Dextrous rhythms drive and shape the compelling wall of sound, they too as tempting in their swing as punishing in a touch bound in the compelling, bewitching wires of guitar. With the equally ravening tones of Nikos soon adding their dissonance, it is a creative maelstrom which proved very easy to be sucked into.
A riveting rousing start to the album not to mention an appetite inflaming one, it is backed up by the just as dynamic Apex Predator. The tapestry of style and imagination of the first is matched in the individual character and presence of the second, a track even more feral and craving in its gait and urgency. Essences of death, groove and progressive metal, to mention just a few, unite in the track’s creative web; it’s stabbing riffs, bass groove, and sonic lattice of flavours casting an adroit tempest which effortlessly got under the skin.
Mother Nature Is a Serial Killer followed with a gentle coaxing of the senses, the melodic beckoning of guitar a quickly captivating intimation within which a surge of riffs brews, coming closer by the half breath before leading in another entangled incitement of texture, sound, and discontent; the latter a fire of vocal enmity. Of course as the song evolves cleaner and harsher elements become involved as that unpredictability already invigorating the first pair infests song and imagination to magnetic effect; it’s still discontent soaked calms as poignant and striking as its hostile ravishes of ears. Obzerv’s sound is wonderfully hard to pin down in a few words and the multi-flavoured roar of this song just epitomises that inescapable lure.
New single Agitated is next up and in comparison makes a far more familiar and straight forward proposition though subsequent swirling grooves and unstable movement in rhythms and gait soon bring a strong temptation to the boil. Eventually rolling with almost barbarous appetite, bass and drums enslaved as sonic discord unites with melodic acidity around again a great mercurial vocal delivery; together all flourishing in ebbs and flows of capricious enterprise and threat.
Lyrical and vocal exploration of apocalyptic and nightmarish depths in a self-destructing world is as unappeasable as daring is dauntless in the surround sounds; both in full bloom within the epic Overthrown. Over nine minutes of the darkest shadows and intent it is a track as prone to be claustrophobic and suffocating as it is melodically seductive and imaginatively mesmeric. Volatility lines every second and breath, the track ever ready to scar and blister as it is to melodically romanced and imaginatively compelled eager attention. At its vast length maybe it is a touch too long yet with every inventive note and resourceful intrusion it is impossible to say it came anywhere near to outstaying is welcome or left intrigue looking ahead.
Through the rapacious rock ‘n roll bred corrosive metal conflagration of Thought and Voice and the prowling doom aired, carnivorously devouring Desensitise, the album gripped with tighter tenacity; both tracks riveted in their individual and imaginatively twisted clamours of observational restlessness, sonic exasperation and downright animosity aiding the second as it provided another major moment among plenty across the release.
The final incensed dance of Acherontia Atropos begins with Stage Chrysalis, a track which initially simmers in sonic and melodic vexing before emerging a searing caustic serenade, and closes with the predatory stalking of the listener that is Plot Twist. A track which discontentedly prowls even when unleashing its more physical rancour, it makes for a glorious, manipulative infestation of body and senses and indeed for a striking conclusion to one thrilling encounter.
We expect Acherontia Atropos to lead Obzerv into major European recognition and certainly into the greedy clutches of a whole new horde of fans; we suggest being among them.
Acherontia Atropos is released April 5th with pre-ordering now available @ https://obzerv.bandcamp.com/album/acherontia-atropos
Pete RingMaster 21/03/2019
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