Obsidian Kingdom: Mantiis – An Agony In Fourteen Bites

The Spanish band’s far-ranging, under-appreciated 2012 debut.

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On their first album, Barcelona’s Obsidian Kingdom offer one track divided into 14 segments.

As each of these ‘bites’ interlocks with what precedes and succeeds, it’s hard to fathom why they split the piece up like this. However, this quibble doesn’t have any bearing on the quality, because this is an album that veers through so many emotional passages and musical styles that it will hold your attention. The band never lose sight of a basic metal inclination – one rooted in the progressive approach of Opeth and Katatonia. However, they layer this with hints of Pink Floyd, a delicate daub of Jethro Tull, a smattering of Jefferson Airplane and even the occasional nod towards Arthur Brown. If this all makes Mantiis sound like it’s a record that never stands still long enough to get its hooves muddy, then that is the way things are. Obsidian Kingdom take risks, yet never clutter up any musical passage with unnecessary tweaks. Every note is made to count. It deserves much greater attention than it got two years ago.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021