Runtime: 17 Minutes
Released: November 25th, 2016
Just take a moment and soak in that gorgeous cover artwork by the talented Federico Musetti. Say what you will about Edmonton, Alberta-based death metal outfit Eye of Horus, but they are blessed with consistently high quality artwork gracing their covers that just screams modern death metal (and a love for mysteriously glowing towers.) Eye of Horus bills themselves as melodic death metal, and while there is absolutely a degree of melodic death influence in their songwriting, it's not the only sub-genre that springs to mind by a long shot. Obsidian runs a wide gamut of sound from melodic death to black metal, even tastes of what feels like deathcore from time to time, at the core of which is a solid foundation of slightly-blackened death metal. Obsidian is a step up in songwriting from the band's previous album Infernal Calling, somehow feeling more diverse in influences while being more focused in composition, a fine feat for any band zeroing in on their own signature sound.
‘The Nithing’ opens the EP with a creepy bubbling effect springing from your speakers and discordant picked notes before the double bass kicks in, shattering the eerie atmosphere and leading into the song proper. Bassist Andrew James is wonderfully high in the mix here, the snappy rattling adding solid layering under the tight guitar riffs, sometimes breaking out as the lead guitar takes an atmospheric break to soar before leading back into the second verse. ‘Unsolemn’ continues in a similar vein, adding a slightly blackened feel interspersed with pummeling palm-muted grooves and flirts with an almost deathcore vibe coming in around the 2:28 mark. Don’t worry, it works; and it’s brutal as hell.
‘Death Flourished in a Withered Grove’ is a standout track and closes the EP with a bang. Ripping right out of the gate with outright black metal assault, the track quickly morphs back into the EP’s signature discordant riffing. Pinch harmonics are used to great effect here as well as an excellent solo which is all too brief. It would be interesting to see Eye of Horus experiment further in this blackened direction.
Production on Obsidian is top notch, especially for an unsigned band, and simply oozes quality and attention to detail. The lead guitar tone is crisp and clear, soaring over rhythms and punctuating the riff changes with aplomb. Vocalist Kody Cecotka has mastered a wide range of growls and screams, always mixing up the styles and never getting stuck in a rut with his delivery. There is, perhaps, an over-reliance on layered vocals and processing effects, but it’s not overt enough to be a problem.
Overall, Obsidian is a solid EP, and the four included tracks show a marked improvement over Eye of Horus’s debut. If you enjoy the embedded track, the rest of the album is currently available of Spotify and will be up for sale on their official Bandcamp page soon.