Album of the Month

The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
(Read more)

Random band

Originally conceived in 1999, the band was originally the solo project of guitarist Michael Ventura. Line-ups varied from 2004 onwards, with the first full band...
(read more)

Fretting Obscurity : Flags in The Dust

Somewhere on the borders of slow Death/Doom and Funeral Doom, solo Ukrainian project Fretting Obscurity delivers a reasonable, if not perfect, debut.

This is my first experience of Ukrainian one-man Doom act Fretting Obscurity. Initially, the fact that it was an Eastern European Doom act on their debut with broken English tattooed across their album made me worry that this would be a release I'd heard before. I'm pleased to say that the listening experience was actually rather interesting.

I don't want anybody to confuse "interesting" with "good", though, because the latter might be a bridge too far here. There are good elements to Fretting Obscurity's music but as a whole, some of it leaves me cold. For example, I'm not a fan of drum machines, for example, and sometimes the mix makes the music sound rather fuzzy.

Nonetheless, Fretting Obscurity has put together an album that I find to be rather unique, if only for the lyrical content. Every song they've concocted on 'Flags In The Dust' sounds incredibly personal. Each is like a blueprint from Yaroslav's past, and in a time where only "cool" lyrical content appears to be desired, I find this to be a rather refreshing approach. During this composition, Yaroslav talks about things like his love for his country, what it feels like to abandon your values, the absence of God, and the way in which the world is changing. Most people I encounter are not quite so forthcoming with their views on personal matters so kudos to Yaroslav for putting out a decidedly genuine release.

Musically speaking, what you'd be listening to if you purchased this album is a Death/Doom composition. I couldn't say that Fretting Obscurity follow any band specifically but they do utilise certain elements from other bands (e.g. the guitar work reminds me of Saturnus or later Tristitia), as everybody does nowadays, I suppose. I have to emphasise that it's more Doom than Death but I found it oddly satisfying to listen to. Although a touch plodding in parts, the spiralling solos kept the music edgy and Yaroslav's growls kept the music intense to boot. It's not a complicated nor a rare combination but it's one that works. "Dramatic" is definitely the word I'd use to describe 'Flags In The Dust' as an album.

Honestly, I couldn't say that I'd recommend this album to everybody because it strikes me as the kind of release that will divide people even more than usual. I'd tentatively suggest that those who prefer a more polished approach to Death/Doom would not be fans of this album. However, those that appreciate atmosphere over production might well find some merit here. There are good and bad elements on 'Flags In The Dust', to be frank, and it's up to the individual as to which stands out more. For me, the album is fairly good; I know I won't forget listening to it straightaway. There are things that Fretting Obscurity needs to work on (e.g. production, avoiding too much repetition) but isn't that the case with most debut releases? I'll certainly keep an eye out for this band in the future because I think there's potential for Yaroslav to do well.

Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.

Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Flags In The Dust
2. If There Is No Other Way To Love 'Em
3. Eternal Return
4. Funeral Never Ends

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes

Visit the Fretting Obscurity bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-09-10 by Ian Morrissey
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com