“Hours pass, slow and submissive
And I don’t know what to do
I live inside myself…”
These tortured final moments of Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest offering 3:11 are hypnotic and downright eerie as the ticking of a clock closes the album past unsettling atmospherics, mirroring the introspective lyrics of a man lost alone, seemingly inside of his own mind.
“3:11 was supposed to be an advance of a conceptual album focused on fear. It occurred to us as a casual thing, after writing a few songs we realised that we we’re constantly referring to things that we were really scared of…” explains guitarist and vocalist, Rider G Omega. “In the end, we as humans still share some very old fears that bring us together. Thus, we see it as a very powerful tool of communication.
“We believe that optimal musical communication can only be achieved when there is a background of intense feeling from the speaker. And in order to deeply feel something it’s always better to have experienced it by oneself… or else be really good at faking.”
Despite possible inferences associated with the lush soundscapes of shoegaze, Obsidian Kingdom’s promotion as a post-black metal band isn’t entirely inaccurate; while the band sports a prominent blackened tenacity and grim roots, they certainly transcend the genre’s confined boundaries. The Spaniards’ collective repertoire runs the gamut from doom to progressive metal, with the forward-thinking attitude and spirit of Norway’s Shining and the musicianship of seminal extreme prog band Enslaved, showing the potential to be one of the best new bands in progressive metal.
Obsidian Kingdom’s marvelous 20-minute EP 3:11 opens with “Prey.” A staccato riff reminiscent of classic prog and psychedelic rock eventually carries into musical territory that is treaded by giants like Opeth and newcoming doom sensation Ghost, setting the tone for the rest of the EP to come. How Obsidian Kingdom aren’t getting the same attention as the latter is certainly beyond me. While all these separate influence are noticeable and how my attention-drawing name dropping would lead you to believe otherwise, Obsidian Kingdom aren’t simply doing retreads of work done by others. In fact, they meld these styles together into a package, formulating a sound that is all their own.
“Both writing and recording music is always challenging. We always try to write music together, so that everyone can contribute actively to the composition process. We find it more enriching than having one of us write the songs and the rest of us playing their respective part. However, this makes the whole process take a lot more time and it also binds us to create a common ground before starting a composition. We see this as a positive thing, though. We’ve come to the point where we pour music into conceptual ideas, which we’re recently realising as a personal trademark.
“As to the recording process, it was both entertaining and didactic. As an emerging band, we’re still trying to find out which way of recording suits us best. For 3:11 we spent a lot of time in pre-production, where some fresh ideas came out. Afterwards we decided to give different tasks to different professionals with whom we felt comfortable with. We are quite satisfied with the results, but we will keep on working on achieving an even better sound. Furthermore, our instrumentation and resources have improved, so next time the challenge will be even bigger.”
The time and effort put into every detail certainly shows, from the aforementioned psychologically influenced lyrics and the seamless myriad of styles weaved together in the music to the striking yet minimalistic artwork accompanying the material, which was put together by designer Ritxi Ostáriz, who has done work for bands such as Ulver, Ihsahn, and Emperor. Unfortunately, the stunning physical copies are no longer available.
Speaking on the prospect of a follow-up to 3:11, Omega says, “the band suffered a severe collapse after [its initial release], and the process of rebuilding has brought us three new musicians with fresh ideas, both conceptual and musical. All of this will naturally show in our new observation and we are the first ones that are expectant to what Obsidian Kingdom will come up with. It won’t take long now, so stay tuned!
“We have some very high hopes for Obsidian Kingdom. We could state something grandiloquent like that we strive for nothing less than artistic and cultural transcendence, but recording memorable tunes and playing them in huge stages in front of thousands of people could do for the moment. Maybe also earn enough to make a living off the band, but those are strong words right now.”
If 3:11 is any indication, Obsidan Kingdom may be on their way to fulfilling such goals. 3:11 is available for free on Bandcamp — stream it below and click through to download.