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Oblomov - Mighty Cosmic Dances CD (album) cover

MIGHTY COSMIC DANCES

Oblomov

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

5.00 | 2 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Bookended by spacy synthesiser instrumentals to establish the titular cosmic themes of the album, Mighty Cosmic Dances by Oblomov at first sounds like a comparatively standard melodic black metal album, if competently performed.

That said, it isn't too long before certain differences emerge. For one thing, Oblomov seem much happier to throw in honest-to-goodness solos than your standard black metal act, and apply a clean production style so as to tease out the best of those rather than burying them in wailing distortion; indeed, some instrumental sections, such as the opening couple of minutes of Redefinition of the Past, resemble prog metal more than black metal.

Between that, the offbeat choice of subject matter (there's a song inspired by Asimov's Foundation trilogy, for instance, which is hardly a very black metal topic), and the way they don't use pseudonyms and corpsepaint as a major component of their look, it's clear that Oblomov aren't too interested in being kvlt black metal purists, but as well as throwing in more accessible sections they're also willing to experiment a bit with the format, tossing in the occasional instrumental solo which defies expectations.

You get this towards the end of Mentality Failure, with some pretty synth twinkling which by itself would sound naive but at the end of that track carries a certain gravitas; they really go to town with it on Lost Between Emotions, which combines some of the most ferocious playing on the album with lovelorn lyrics and honest to goodness saxophone solo with synthesiser backing - and then, towards the end of the song, what sounds to me like an honest to goodness didgeridoo, though rather than making it sound like a cod-Australian novelty track it instead (with the aid of the synthesiers) gives it a quasi-medieval flavour, like the didgeridoo is being used to make a sound not dissimilar to a crumhorn.

The saxophone returns again towards the end of Starsend, lending the conclusion a sort of Van der Graaf Generator character - not in terms of musical similarity, but in terms of using the saxophone as an instrument to express tension and anxiety, as happens in the most nightmarish VdGG tracks. (It also heralds perhaps some of the best synthesiser playing on the album, including either an honest-to-goodness mellotron or a decent facsimile of one). The subsequent tracks are more standard melodic black metal fare, but strong examples of the form by and large - and just when you think things have become predictable again, Nostalgic Idealization fades out on a gentle unaccompanied organ solo to keep you guessing, whilst closing song Dreamworks represents the heaviest song on the album but also includes some strange processed vocals towards the end that really help keep up the otherworldly atmosphere.

From what I have heard, the followup album Communitas (Deconstructing the Order) takes their genre-blending and use of unexpected instrumental ingredients even further, and this debut album certainly makes me want to explore that, but it also reveals them as a very capable melodic black metal unit who are able to let their experimental instincts spice up their compositions without upstaging them.

Warthur | 5/5 |

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