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Beneath Oblivion : Beneath Oblivion

It seems whenever a doom band pops up on the scene that plays in the hate-filled, ultra slow style of bands like Grief and Corrupted, lazy reviewers almost always write them off as clones or accuse them of bringing nothing new to the genre; this is definitely not the case with Cincinnati, Ohio doomsters Beneath Oblivion. The band brings plenty to the genre and their latest eponymous 10-inch vinyl EP is an epic, nihilistic slab of blackened sludge, swirling atmospherics, and ponderously paced doom.

'Beneath Oblivion' is emotive and raw, dishing out equal doses of blissful pain and naked honesty over the course of two songs in just under 20 minutes. The songs are monolithically imposing, as melody and violence ebb and flow relentlessly while vocalist/guitarist Scott Simpson exercises his personal demons through his vulnerable and revealing lyrics. Simpson's vocals are delivered with a powerful shriek more akin to black metal than doom, but his style suits the songs well allowing him to express himself not only through his lyrics but with a savage presentation as well. Beneath Oblivion's songs may be born of rancor, sorrow, anger, and grief but their melodic structure gives them a sense of melancholy which sets them apart from many of the their peers within the genre.

Lead track 'One Year of Deprivation' begins with a swell of feedback and crystalline cymbal crashes before falling into a bruising riff from Simpson which is anchored by bassist Jay Waller and the almost military-like cadence of Nate Bidwell's massive, thunderous drumming. Simpson and Waller trade vocal punches during the song's first movement, screaming and bellowing back and forth like two ravenous beasts clamoring for that final morsel of raw meat. Waller's vocals are a mix of vintage hardcore and brutal death metal and are the perfect foil for Simpson's trademark screech. The song's second movement downshifts into an eerie, atmospheric instrumental passage in which its already de-tuned chord progression seems constantly on the verge of falling out of tune. This gives the passage a sense of mesmerizing, claustrophobic beauty. The third movement of 'Deprivation' is a jarring, "on the dime" shift in tempo and mood with it's bludgeoning riff, Eyehategod style groove, and Simpson's vocals front and center. 'One Year of Deprivation's final minutes revisit the brutality of the song's first movement before fading out with feedback and a single ringing chord.

'No Man or Deity', the album's second and final track, is steeped in tribal repetition and trance inducing sludge. The primal throb and hypnotic pulse of Bidwell's drums and the distorted, desolate drone of Waller's bass give the song its primordial grounding over which Simpson delivers his stream of consciousness, end-times sermon. "A name and number, fodder to be. I'll bow for no man, I'll pray to no deity" Simpson screams as the crushing, cyclical rhythm pulses below. 'No Man or Deity' is a dark, shimmering soundtrack to the apocalypse.

'Beneath Oblivion' poses a striking balance between devastating doom and atmospheric post-metal and its monolithic, misanthropic vision should appeal to fans of the newer crop of doom visionaries such as Samothrace, Ocean, Indian, and Thou. Fans of Sunn O))),Neurosis and Buried at Sea should also take heed.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. One Year of Deprivation
2. No Man or Deity

Duration : Approx. 20 minutes.

Visit the Beneath Oblivion bandpage.

Reviewed on 15-06-2009 by Kyle Havens
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