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Obsidian Kingdom: A Year With No Summer

Expansive Catalonian gloomsters earn their stripes

As equally in debt to the works of Peter Gabriel and Smashing Pumpkins as they are to the likes of Neurosis, Barcelona’s Obsidian Kingdom have always been an impossible band to pigeonhole.

A Year With No Summer sees them move further away from the more extreme elements of their sound and similar to Deftones’ White Pony, they’ve smoothed down their edges while still retaining a metal mindset. Boosted by the arrival of a new guitarist, Seerborn Ape Tot, and bassist Om Rex Orale, their second album is an unashamedly gloomy opus and although it’s morose, it’s not overly mawkish.

Comprised of seven tracks, it features the bands’ finest recorded moment yet in the form of Away/Absent.

An indie, goth and metal-flecked offering that crams an odd, acoustic Catalan folk song and an ambient midsection into its 12 minutes, it’s weird and jarring at first, but after repeated listens it works, like the album as a whole.