Obey – Swallow The Sun

Obey have not exactly been hidden in the shadows of the UK metal scene in recent years, finding acclaim and success with increasing intensity but now the Midlands outfit is surely poised to really demand and receive major attention with the release of their new album, Swallow The Sun. Offering nine tracks of the band’s firmly individual fusion of heavy rock, groove metal, and doom bred intensity, though that only hints at the flavours involved and it all wrapped in progressive metal individuality, the band’s fourth full-length takes the listener on a creative and emotional journey shaped by fascinating imagination and potent craft.

Formed in 2008, Obey has established themselves with increasing success within the British metal scene live and across a trio of previous albums starting with their debut, New Day Rising in 2009. If that first release for the Staffordshire trio tickled strong attention, Doom Laden in 2012 and Maelstrom four years later gave it a bigger jab to reinforce a redoubtable reputation earned by their live prowess and successes. As suggested though Swallow The Sun is a proposition which swings a mighty dextrous hook at ears, swiftly revealing itself not only the band’s finest moment yet but a release which easily grabs attention away from the majority of releases to grace the year so far.

With ex- Generations and Molly Leigh drummer Ryan Gillespie completing the band’s current line-up alongside guitarist/vocalist Steve Pickin and guitarist/bassist Dan Ryder last year, Obey joined up with producer Sam Bloor at Lower Lane Studios to record Swallow the Sun and immediately the album takes a robust hand on ears with opener Back Home. Riffs straight away nag at the senses, they soon entangled in the sonic intimation of a solar thread of guitar. The band describe the album as a “sonic journey dealing with the cruelty of Dementia and the devastation it leaves, melding that together with themes of fantasy and folklore” and from its first few seconds there is a haunting dark hue to sound and atmosphere even as the track quickly collects its attributes to create tides of rhythmic and sonic enticement. Like the band’s sound is a blend of open styles skilfully united, the song is a web of textures as voracious and often predatory as they are melodic and frequently seductive; an encounter as unpredictable as it is captivating for a simply superb start to the album.

Drive follows and it too simply seizes ears from its first wiry throes before opening up its kaleidoscopic landscape, one tempestuous and as unsettled as it is creatively magnetic but a maelstrom of enterprise fluidly consuming and exciting ears. Classic hues join modern and progressive essences as the song blossoms by the twist and turn, Pickin’s vocals a strong and emotionally disturbed match for the cauldron of sounds around him. Both the opening pair of tracks has an inherent catchiness to them which is just as instinctive within next up Call Of The Judderman. Initially there is a common wiring between the third song and its predecessor, a core asylum of sonic endeavour but it soon unveils its own unique character and presence across three minutes of compelling confrontation.

Star Crusher takes the imagination on a swift heavy doom laden cruise across celestial space, its fuel imposing intensity before landing ears and appetite at the siren presence of Esmeralda And The Doom Blues. Instantly seductive verging on the salacious, the track soon reveals its medusa-esque heart in sound, endeavour, and threat whilst simply ambushing any possible resistance to its melodic bewitchment before the album’s title track romps across the senses and instincts with its flirtatious rock ‘n’ roll. Defiance to its bounce and swing was futile; submission to its virulent scheme unsurprisingly inevitable as the song rivalled and at times eclipsed the already thrilling escapade of the album so far.

A calmer air embraces ears next as The Mountain looms up, the song soon ensnaring them in its own commandingly creative lattice of guitar as rhythms manipulatively infest. Even so it is a less volatile proposition though it carries certain tempestuousness in its outstanding body of sound and imagination while snarls and wonderfully harasses the senses with its technical mastery and physical agility. Both tracks keep the lofty heights of the album in place with ease leaving Emerald Eyes to bring Swallow The Sun to a similarly fine close if it took a touch longer to elevate to the stature of other tracks.

It does though simply epitomise the band’s craft and imagination and the wonderful unpredictability of every essence making up one addictive album; Swallow The Sun announcing Obey as one seriously striking proposition.

Swallow The Sun is out now @ https://obeyuk.bandcamp.com/album/swallow-the-sun

https://www.facebook.com/Obeyuk/   https://twitter.com/obeyuk

Pete RingMaster 11/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Pigeon Lake – Barriers Fall

Three years after the release of their striking and quickly acclaimed debut album, Tales of a Madman, Norwegian quartet Pigeon Lake return with its successor in Barriers Fall. The time between has seen changes within the band and a reassessment of the way forward; a shift sparking an evolution in sound too which is actually hard to pin down but openly inflaming the Oslo outfit’s new offering and release which like its predecessor at the time, will make a definite rival to those around it for one of the most essential investigations of the year.

Since emerging in the opening smiles of 2012, Pigeon Lake has grown to be one of the most compelling propositions on the melodic rock/metal landscape. Founded by vocalist/guitarist Christopher Schackt and completed by childhood friend and drummer Andreas Prestby and bassist Kenneth Stiansen, the band instantly sparked attention and praise with the I: Mindrape EP later in that first year. Its themes of domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental health were as striking as the raw sounds inciting ears. The three became four with the addition of lead guitarist Magnus Engemoen soon after while the following year saw Stiansen replaced by Anders Børresen. As their sound moved towards a flavouring more akin to the likes of Katatonia, Stone Sour, and The Ocean, the band’s live presence escalated before they got down to work creating Tales of a Madman, its release coming in the Autumn of 2014 and followed by the band heavily hitting the road again including taking their first steps touring Europe.

Linking up with Wormholedeath Records in recent times provided the spark for that previously mentioned re-assessment and the resulting highly amicable departure of Børresen and Prestby which was soon followed by the joining of bassist Håkon Bechholm and drummer Jonas Rønningen. Now the new line-up has unveiled Barriers Fall, an encounter feeling darker and rawer than that first album yet their most melodically seductive and inventively mature adventure yet.

The album opens with Ragnarok, grooves instantly wrapping ears with shadow lined radiance. There is a portentous edge to them though, nothing imposing but clearly there as rhythms jab and riffs collude around them. Magnetic straight away, the track settles down into a heavy prowl where all those imposing elements erupt for a few rapacious seconds before Schackt’s cleaner tones steer the tempest into kinder waters. Abrasive growls remain alongside him though as the song merges predatory and seductive sides, luring the imagination into a provocative squall of emotion and intensity.

It is a striking start soon eclipsed by the just as tempestuous roar of Lyra. Nagging riffs align with Schackt’s distinctive tones initially, the bass prowling around them before the incendiary heart of the track erupts with fiery melodies and antagonistic tendencies. Harmonies and melodic tempting bewitch as the song subsequently shares its evolving soundscape, contrasting textures blending their potencies in one beguiling encounter. There is definitely something of the aforementioned Katatonia to the song and indeed album but equally the likes of Opeth and Swallow The Sun come to mind though in all honesty Pigeon Lake here and across Barriers Fall only reveal their own character of sound and imagination.

The album’s title track is next, seducing with a mesmerising poetic melody and calm vocal reflection before Rønningen’s beats add increasing threat. In time, as things increasingly simmer with greater intensity, everything comes to a head, vocals spilling their psychosis as a sonic causticity descends. A relative relief in the storm comes with the closing breaths of the excellent track before the more mercurial presence of The Futility of You takes the listener into a controlled yet seemingly unstable emotional embrace. Again the music is a web of trespass and radiance, vocals matching the changeable mood with suggestive prowess as wiry hooks and almost toxic melodies tempt and trap the imagination. Epitomising the album as a whole, the track only reveals new layers and textures with every listen, each time within it seeing growing attraction and the blossoming of image painting thoughts.

Hide and Seek runs a fine line of control and lawlessness, its cauldron of corrosive energy restrained and held back by the harmonic and melodic beauty hugging the senses though it is never more than a breath from breaking free while within Sunder it shapes the predatory nature of a track which equally is as much an oasis of elegance and gentle repose as a turbulent tempest; a beauty and beast of inner and worldly turmoil.

Senses harrying riffs brings A Familiar Problem to bear on ears next, delicious bait opening up into a just as enticing fusion of roaming grooves and brooding rhythms around feral toned vocals. That previously mentioned raw element of the release has its head with the harsh throated presence of Schackt adding to the psychotic edge of the track with clean and melody woven radiancy just as powerful before Perfect Place casts its variable cyclone on the passions. Irresistible within its first moments and only stealing greater lust thereon in, the track breeds an addiction as rich as its unpredictability to provide if not the pinnacle, one of many.

Closing track Let’s Pretend takes the listener into one final embrace of emotional restlessness and creative anxiety, the song as the album whilst being intricately woven and layered is almost anarchic in its nature and heart. It is a fine end to another encounter with Pigeon Lake which simply blossoms and further impresses with every listen.  To be fussy, personal tastes would see Schackt’s throat scarring vocal side reduced to allow his excellent clean and emotionally suggestive tones to have an even larger say but it is a mere passing thought in a release which stirs every part of body and mind.

Barriers Fall is available now through Wormholedeath Records across most online stores.

http://www.pigeonlake.no/    https://www.facebook.com/PigeonLakeMusic/   https://twitter.com/PigeonLakeMusic

Pete RingMaster 17/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright