2013’s Void Mother was one of my favourite albums of that year. Fast forward 3 years and my anticipation for Epitaphs is at fever pitch.
Obscure Sphinx are one of those oh-so-rare bands that are very definitely leaders and not followers. How they haven’t been propelled up into the high-profile post-metal realms that the likes of Cult of Luna and Neurosis inhabit is way beyond me, as these bands are very much their peers. Musically, Obscure Sphinx inhabit the upper tiers of the highest quality levels, but sadly their popularity level hasn’t followed.
I’m hopeful that Epitaphs will go some way to redressing this imbalance, but I have no idea whether it actually will. Regardless, it’s another ludicrously strong album for the band, one that further cements them as one of of the absolute best at what they do.
As I say, although the band firmly inhabit the post-metal landscape they are definitely their own masters. When you listen to this band, you don’t mistake them for anyone else.
This is music that’s all about atmosphere, passion and weighty substance. The songs feel crafted and organically grown rather than written and performed. This is heavy, emotionally-charged music that carries with it a feeling of something special, something extraordinary. This special something is intrinsic to the core of the music that Obscure Sphinx create. It’s quite indefinable, but you know it when you hear it and Obscure Sphinx have it in spades.
The songs are instantly engaging and draw you in with their compelling, engaging, and occasionally quirky mannerisms. The band have taken the post-metal build/release mechanic and somehow injected enough of the aforementioned something special into it so that the style may sound familiar, but it also sounds captivatingly fresh and vibrant.
I like how this isn’t just a collection of songs, but a full-blown musical experience. I’ve also said in the past that I love it when you listen to an album and it sounds like a journey; this is very, very true of Epitaphs.
It helps that the band have a very distinctive singer, of course, but this shouldn’t distract from the sheer impressiveness of the music though. Having said that, she does have an extremely powerful voice, one that’s loaded to the brim with personality and strength, so it’s only right that her performance is somewhat of a focal point. Whether she’s screaming her throat raw, crooning softly, soaring high with ethereal cleans, singing sweetly or anything else, she always puts her entire heart into the delivery and this comes through very clearly in the songs.
Epitaphs is a massive triumph and it’s a real treat for any fan of uncompromisingly individual music. Obscure Sphinx deserve all of the support they get and more – this is essential listening for all fans of heavy, nuanced music.