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Obelyskkh - The Providence album review

Dextrous sludge adventures in the Bavarian forests

Cover art for Obelyskkh - The Providence album

This Bavarian sludge quartet got off to a flying start, recording three albums in as many years from 2011-13. After a four-year gap, Obelyskkh re-enter Earth’s atmosphere sounding refreshed, with more distinctive impulses – although the career of Matt Pike is still a cornerstone. There’s a pleasing sense of pace and a few auditory surprises; you might jump during Aeons Of Iconoclasm when the electric guitars crack into the deranged acoustic campfire strum, and there’s a laugh at the end of Marzanna that’ll shit you up if you’re tripping. A variety of vocal styles are matched to appropriate passages; the blastbeats of Northern Lights are enhanced by a fierce windswept yell, but on the opening title track, frontman Crazy Woitek even channels The Fall’s Mark E Smith via séance vocalisations. There’s maybe still a slight tendency towards aimless plodding, when the band are lost in the moment and the listener is waiting for them to move on, but there’s a restless energy from the drumming and layers of edge-of-hearing noise, some disorientating, some funny.