I last caught up with Obsidian Sea on 2015’s Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions. Seven years, a lineup change, and another album in between later, and we now have Pathos, which caught my eye and encouraged me to get back in touch with what the band are doing. And what are they doing? Unleashing 40 minutes of fun material, that’s what.
Falling somewhere between doom metal, heavy metal, heavy rock, and proto-doom/metal/rock, Obsidian Sea’s music is emotive and well-crafted. Combining older influences going back to the 70s with a modern sheen and professional production, Pathos does a good job of utilising some of the best parts of the old and the new, with a focus on the former, more than the latter.
Epic melodies abound, as do memorable riffs and slick grooves. Psychedelic touches are common and well-placed, and the entire band are focused and of one mind. It’s clear that Obsidian Sea have a put a lot of effort into their new record.
The music has a keen sense of atmosphere, with a melancholic character and an introspective mien, (although Obsidian Sea are not without their energetic moments, which are quite frequent). The music is richly delivered, and the band have a textured approach to songwriting. This is further bolstered by progressive elements that can be heard here and there, reinforcing the somewhat dreamy 70s feel that the music has.
There are a lot of peaks and troughs across the album, and a lot of engaging diversions are taken by the band as they explore their rich musical heritage. A variety of textures are explored, and each song puts its own spin on the band’s style.
All of the musicians put in stellar performances, and each instrument is worthy of attention. The vocals are strong too, and some of the harmonies used are exquisite. Overall it’s obvious that Obsidian Sea are a talented bunch, and Pathos is definitely worth getting to know if you’re a fan of the more retro styles.
A recommended listen.