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A music work can be seen as a simulation: of a scene, a world, a memory, or anything else its creator channels into it. It could be said that, consciously or not, the work strives to render as many impressions of the thing evoked, to work as a nexus of correspondences that reverberate with it. In this sense music is reminiscent of an occult invocation ritual, where the magicians surrounds themselves with materials (music definitely not excluded) and ideas that pertain to whatever is invoked.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s one-man band Obskuritatem is part of the Black Plague Circle, a conglomeration of black metal groups (among which are the excellent Void Prayer) which tend to lie on the rawer edge of the genre’s spectrum. The band has been discographically active since 2012 with a number of releases including 2017’s full-length (U kraljevstvu mrtvih…). One month ago, they released their sophomore album, Hronika iz mraka.
Following on past tradition, the album’s sound is raw but far from inaudible or obtrusive, proving quite effective as far as underground and archaic aesthetics are concerned. Mainly articulated on a wall of circular riffs with a love for dissonance, the guitar work strives to build a desolate and haunting atmosphere, through which glide the sparse bass lines, the emphatic drums and the vocals. The latter opt for the non-human: either demonically raspy, or clean, echo-y ones that go the full spectral way. Intros and interludes with a highly nocturnal aspect paint more strokes upon this uncanny canvas.
Beauty and elegance is an integral aspect of Obskuritatem’s music – there are melancholic melodies embedded within most of the riffs, revealing a close relation to Les Legions Noires and Transilvanian-era Darkthrone. As far as the sweeping, majestic moments are concerned, we need look no further than first-era Deathspell Omega. Returning to my introductory comments, the band here seems to focus in evoking the essence of wandering through decadent ruins and subterranean passages of unseen menace and majesty; in that it proves highly successful, as the album feels like a trail through a ritualistic and inhuman landscape.
Full of spectral gliding iconography, Hronika iz mraka is impressionistic music to listen to in the dark, preferably while wandering. Here the ugliness of decay meets the beauty of decadence and the mania of divine dementia flickers through thick twilight.