OBSIDIAN KINGDOM – A Year With No Summer

Label: Season Of Mist
Release: 11.03.2016
By: Jordan Salfity
Rating: 9/10
Time: 43:12
Style: Progressive Metal
URL: Obsidian Kingdom

OBSIDIAN KINGDOM had been a band since 2005 before finally releasing their debut album Mantiis in 2012. Between 2005 and 2012, they released two EPs, but it was Mantiis that really gave music fans an idea of what this band was capable of. The album was a 1-song concept album split into 14 tracks filled with a variety of emotions and genres, including influence from ambient music, folk, jazz, progressive rock, and extreme forms of heavy metal such death metal and black metal, perfect for fans of Opeth, Orphaned Land, and Persefone. I highly anticipated a follow up, and got just that early in 2016. A Year With No Summer takes a much different path than its predecessor. However, the band is still able to pull off this miraculous change in genre. Dropping the influence from extreme forms of metal, this album focuses much more on electronic, industrial, post-rock, and experimental music. The album opener is my favorite song the band has ever put out, being the perfect mix of a catchy chorus and strong dynamics from quiet to loud and vise versa. April 10th is one of the most interesting tracks on the album, starting with a spoken part from the singer of Ulver, which creates a very mysterious and haunting atmosphere. It reminds me of a combination between Ulver and Nine Inch Nails, and really shows the band going in different directions. Darkness is filled with a mix of melody and dissonant noise, continuing with the Nine Inch Nails but done in more of a punk rock or industrial metal way. The heavy use of electronic and industrial music really fits the theme of the album, and the atmosphere overall helps the concept of the album get across. The Kandinsky Group is one of the heavier songs on the album and has vocals that are almost growls/screams. The Polyarnik is a great instrumental. Black Swan is another accessible song, but the album closes with one of the most diverse tracks, the 11 minute Away/Absent, which finally shows the band returning to their death/black metal roots. Overall, it is an incredible diverse album that is well thought out. The concept and themes are really interesting to read into, and I love how musically the band brings everything full circle. This album is highly underrated and it is one of my favorites of 2016.