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Obsidian Kingdom: A Year With No Summer

The Barcelona band are playing the long game...

The second album from this Spanish outfit sees them sticking firmly in the ‘difficult to categorise’ camp that they gleefully leapt into with their well-received 2012 debut, Mantiis.

At times clearly influenced by classic old school prog, they meld these sounds with a slick, modern sheen – fans of Katatonia, Opeth, Tool and similar should feel very much at home. Their extreme metal roots still show through from time to time (as on closer Away Absent) and guest slots from Mayhem frontman Attila Csihar and Kristoffer ‘Garm’ Rygg of Ulver fame further confirm their underground pedigree. But it’s the melody and melodrama seeping from every song that marks out where the band are likely headed. From the soaring title track to the surging Black Swan and The Kandinsky Group, there’s an epic, expansive feel to their sound that hints that there could well be something bigger coming down the line. Boiled down to easy-to-swallow essentials, there’s a mainstream and very marketable album in here just bursting to get out. But instead of compromising and making a calculated and instantly accessible effort, they’re clearly playing a long game, and for this they should be rightly praised.