The new Obsequiae is what is expected based on what came before, which is both its massive strength and only downside.
No one does what Tanner Anderson does, and few people in metal have a vision that is as singular as his. “Castle metal” will indeed do as both a handwavey genre descriptor and an accurate depiction of the atmosphere in these tracks. And not just in the harp renditions of early music standards; mediaeval melodies are woven into many of the riffs, too.
But this is the last album where I will be satisfied with this sound. It’s unique, it’s perfectly refined at this point. And now I’d really like to have my mind blown anew. It’s a lot to ask, but anything else would be a disappointment.
The title track is boldest both in sheer infectious waltzing riffage and hints of experimenting with new elements: the epic chants are a fitting climax to what is certainly the highlight of this album.
This all may sound more negative than it should. This is a wonderful album that I can safely play again and again. It is infectious, a piece of fine craftmanship. The balance between rousing melodic riffing and calm interludes is perfect, as it always has been. Not many albums reach this level of play in my listening routine. It’s just that Obsequiae raised the bar pretty damn high with Aria of Vernal Tombs four years ago, and no other standard will do.
Enough blather. Suit up, open your ears and your heart, and journey to discover ancient ruins that transform into vast keeps, ghosts that turn into brave warriors.
The Palms of Sorrow Kings is our on 22 November on LP/CD through 20 Buck Spin.