When I heard the intricate themes and the heavy progressive direction on the album, “Pillars of Creation”, I was enthralled. Few bands are able to merge progressive metal and melody in a heavy fashion whilst maintaining an edgy, somewhat original vibe. Obsidian Tide have solved that puzzle for the most part. Their penchant for heavy, dark metal shines forth on this album, a conceptual piece filled with emotional peaks. Critics and consumers of epic rock and concept metal will be blown away by the originality of the music here. I think the Israeli band has crafted a compelling and incredible journey, both lyrically and musically, across the 7 tracks that make up this recording.
“Pillars of Creation” is an incredibly smooth album, condensed into an intense and emotionally charged experience from beginning to end, leaving nothing to speculation – this is progressive metal, at times, wearing its influences apparently – fully energetic and unapologizing.
At times it is hard to believe that this is only a three piece unit – made up of Oz Avneya (guitars and clean vocals), Shachar Bieber (bass and harsh vocals) and Erez Nadler (drums and programming) – such is the astounding power and explosion of sound pushed out by Obsidian Tide. This is by far their most mature work to date and is without a doubt, their best.
Rich in fabulous melodies, shining with amazing solos and texturally aural soundscapes, Obsidian Tide forge true artistic sound sculpting at its finest. The tunes are fresh, and all the musicians are virtuosos, yet there is never any overplaying or childish showboating.
The melodies can actually survive on their own, even without the masterful instrumentation. And that is something highly unusual in any genre of metal. Right from the opening title track, “Pillars of Creation”, the band deliver staggering vocal performances, mathematically precise instrumentation, impenetrably complex and challenging arrangements, and a willingness to embrace variation.
The extreme proficiency with which Obsidian Tide creates music has indeed made me a fan. “Seven” launches with a rolling percussive riff that develops into a twisting harsh vocal tornado. The guitar controls this whirlwind of musical psychosis with determined precision. The band is in a frenetic mood, and vocalist Oz Avneya is in melodic voice despite the heavy and contiguous rhythm that hammers under his vocal line.
“King Of A New Realm” is the first sign that we are to expect something different, yet at the same time mystifyingly familiar, from Obsidian Tide. It is eight minutes of seizure-like rhythms that defy any analysis, including a solo piano interlude which introduces a spell-breaking segment into the song.
“Portent Of Betrayal” is a cranium-shattering experience with driving guitars and harsh vocals dominating the song. By now exhausted, the listener might be left wondering what, if anything, the band could now do to offer some respite. It comes by way of the quieter introduction of “Hireath”. But it is only a brief recess, before the song explodes into overdrive.
However the arrangement allows for softer and louder sections with vividly captivating orchestrations. Obsidian Tide fluctuate between quirky ferocity and vibrant serenity with enchanting confidence and catchiness on “The Harbinger And The Millennial Vengeance”. It conjures a mesh of crushing riffs, feisty rhythms, and the band’s characteristic vocals, to immediately feel at home in their catalog.
In contrast, the ultimate “Magnanimous” is a beautifully atmospheric ode that builds masterfully from luscious delicacy to complex frenzy without subjugating its core emotion. The song again features Obsidian Tide’s innate ability to extract both melodic and power-metal aggression simultaneously.
It is filled with polyrhythms, pleading melodies, jaw-shattering guitars and bass and an excellent saxophone interlude. Bewildering, impressive and satisfying, all at the same time. Formed in 2012 in the suburbs of Tel-Aviv, Obsidian Tide are certainly no newcomers to the progressive metal scene, and with this album they prove that they do it infinitely better than most.
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