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Review

Gloam & Obscure Evil – Split Review

Band: Gloam & Obscure Evil
Album: Split
Label: Blood Harvest
Genre: Black Metal / Blackened Thrash Metal
Country: United States Of America / Peru
Release Date: August 10, 2018

A-side:

Gloam are an American (Californian to be exact) black metal band that has been around for a while (they formed in 2010) and this split is my first meeting with them. Upon going through their discography i have found that they have crafted a blend of old school black metal mixed with some structural elements of death metal, with some original ways of writing and incorporating riffs in unorthodox song structures, with lyrics dealing mainly with mysticism, hatred and lore. The fact that they are from Santa Cruz, California is what it is, time has given us a lot of great sounding black metal from western United States, all stigma aside.

For this release, they have prepared a track that starts right off with some interesting and pretty harsh and disharmonic riffing, and there is some creative bass playing which is rare in this kind of music; I always find it refreshing to hear some tonally creative bass playing in black metal, you know, not just being there to compliment the guitarist. There are two guitar tracks here, one on each channel, and the leading guitar on the left side does some unconventional and at times technical riffing, while the guitar on the right channel is keeping a steady pace, filling in the gap between the leading guitar and the bass.

The music is atmospheric, but pretty technical and lends a little to old school death metal in the way the track paces forward. A little low in the mix perhaps is the vocals, and I do find these to be the weakest point of this track. The vocalist sounds invested enough in the music rhythmically, however i find them to be pretty monotonous and not really adding anything to the music other than “being there”. These guys can definitely play their instruments, and i wish the vocals were up there with the rest. This is also a bit due to production, as the production on this track is sorta mid-heavy for black metal, and like I said, the vocals are pretty low in the mix. Their previous effort, Death Is The Beginning, shows the vocals in a better light, where they sound more like sonic shrouds of darkness adding to the atmosphere of the music; however on this track i find that the vocals are lacking a bit of passion, not leading the music the way it deserves.

Overall this is a pretty progressive piece, where the fast parts works out really well and each new riff is interesting, however the last couple of minutes seem almost unnecessary, as this would have been a great fast paced track if it ended at around the 6 minute mark, whereas the outro part sound more like a filler than anything. I find that the material on this split is lacking a bit compared to their previous effort, and that the production don’t really do the music justice; these riffs almost demand a cold production, some reverbed drumming and just a tad processing on the vocals, making them stand out a little more. All in all i find their material to be an interesting take on somewhat primitive black metal, but with added freshness due to originality with their creative and well thought out riffs.

B-side:

On the flipside a whole different tale unveils. I can’t find any red link between the material of the two bands other than that they both operate (or in this case operated, as sadly, Obscure Evil recently split up) within the realm of black metal, although coming from two different places entirely, both stylistically and geographically. Obscure Evil was a band from Peru, and this black thrash assault is yet another testimony to the number of great thrashy black metal bands from south america.

Majestic fucking intro; the first few riffs screams of epic, old school thrash and tells you they’re brewing up something ugly, and at the same time the classy structure of these introductory riffs puts you off guard and in a state of anticipation. From there on it’s dirty good old thrash metal done the south american way, you can almost hear the bullet belts, leather jackets and alcohol in the music. Nothing really new in terms of riffing, with a muddy production where every instrument is audible and the vocals are comfortably centered in the middle, cool vocals too by the way; the heavy use of delay works really well.

While there is nothing particularly inventive about this, i don’t get the feeling that’s what these guys are aiming for either; this is primitive, old school blackened thrash metal done right. However for this sort of music it should either sound very chaotic, or very energetic in order to really give you the urge to get up and smash things, and in this case i find that they land somewhere in between and this is partially because the drummer can’t always stand up to the rest of the lineup, and lacks a little bit in the energy department. If the drums were a little more aggressive it would definitely help stimulate the pituitary gland to the point where you’d have no choice but to take these two tracks as a call to get up and do something stupid.

All in all i must say that i am saddened to hear that Obscure Evil has split up, as there is a lot of potential in their music, not by bringing anything new to the table, but rather staying true to old values and making ass kicking, fast driving, devil worshipping blackened thrash metal.

Rating: 5.5/10

Tracklist:
1. Gloam – Black Swords Of Desecration
2. Obscure Evil – Tribes Of Ueth
3. Obscure Evil – Necronihilism

Total Playing Time: 15:56

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