Review: “Litany Of Iah” by Obsidyen

Back in 2019 the four horsemen of the French Apocalypse formed an unholy alliance known as Obsidyen and created an odyssey known as “Antediluvian Scriptum” for the like minded to endure. Revolving around biblical mythologies, before slowly shifting towards the “Ancient Astronaut Theory“, popularized by Erich von Däniken in 1968 in which humanity has been visited by non-human beings in the past. These traumatic anthropological and technological encounters led to the creation of polytheistic religions and myths in antiquity. Subjects including Mesopotamian and Sumerian cultures, the Old Testament or the myth of Atlantis were transcribed in Post Black Metal and their gift was gratefully received. Now in 2023, the alliance return with the first part of a trilogy based on the “Cult of the Serpent” titled “Litany Of Iah” which takes place in ancient Egypt and is adorned by artwork from Macchabée Artworks. 

Mixed and mastered by Nikos Palivos (Sovernal, Nocturnal Pestilence, Sabhankra) at Haunting Studios the sophomore album from Obsidyen may only be six wounds but at the better part of 47 minutes it is a feast fit for a King. The first of those is Ceux Qui Viennent D’en Haut” (or “Those Who Come From Above“), a cinematic introduction piece that brings to mind Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “The Scorpion King” with it’s beautiful ethnic charm and elegant female vocal setting the scene for the title track. A seven minute magnum opus, “Litany Of Iah” tears down the blue skies with restless and relentless blasting from Damian behind the kit. That forms the backbone upon which classic Black Metal riffs are placed, the scalding demonic vocals of Omega bringing plague and pestilence to the ancient lands. Darkly atmospheric, the music moves in storm patterns with well placed tempo changes giving the everything a sense of epic majesty and beauty in the savage nature of the beast. Ethnic riffs give “An Ancient Age” life while the swirling drum patterns create a vortex of annihilation, the sheer power of this demonstration of musicianship as mesmerising as it is gripping. There is an understated shoegazing quality to this and if it were in instrumental form then it might become more apparent, the throat splitting vocals from Omega the unrelenting force that prevents it from showing its true form.

The blistering “The Passenger Of Nout” offers no respite surpassing 550 seconds with consummate ease. It does so with almost orchestral like movements in Black Metal, each passage as distinctive and abrasive as the last. A step up in power for the mid section has riffs that border on Blackened Death Metal, a modernisation of the ancient ways that some purists may call out as blasphemous but that is in reality a deviation from their worship. The ethereal female vocals from the introduction piece rise once again to the surface as the cut concludes ensuring that the epic majesty of this dark procession continues. Those vocals act as a bridge into “The Eternal Confinement“, another slab of stone carried on the backs of slaves as Obsidyen build their Pyramid in monument to the eternal damned. Lead guitars from Kharon shake the foundations of our very existence, providing a storms warning ahead of another gargantuan passage of blasting from Damian once more. What makes the track is the haunting final sixty seconds or so with a drone like quality providing a dull ache and burn to be. The apocalyptic saga must come to an end and it does so with “Apophis“, the longest cut on the record. A powerful Post-Black Metal introduction that feels like a demo from Hundred Year Old Man has a menacing and sinister edge, the leads shining through the darkness. Crushing and oppressive, the atmospherics and dynamics are undeniably impressive, the mid section evolving into a rampage through the seven dungeons of hell before a haunting whispered spoken word dances on cerebral cortex. That leaves time for one final burst of violence with an almost DJent riff accompanied by some howling at the moon… [7.5/10]

1. Ceux Qui Viennent D’en Haut
2. Litany Of Iah
3. An Ancient Age
4. The Passenger Of Nout
5. The Eternal Confinement
6. Apophis

Litany Of Iah” by Obsidyen is out 17th November 2023 via Drowning In Chaos Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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