There’s a pretty standard list of deities black metal bands worship. The genre has been around long enough that whenever a goat (or cat in the city I guess) is sacrificed to Satan, Cthulhu or Beelzebub, nobody bats an eyelid. Except maybe the poor kittie/ kiddie’s owner. In any case, one god you don’t see a whole lot of sacrifices to, at least not of the ceremonial kind with a dagger, is Xenu. Black metal has something primitive in its bones, something that feels the need to film its videos on mountaintops and in forests. Giant fucking spaceships are going to stretch the budget a tad. Russian instrumental metallers Obscurus Codex are here to change that, with their future facing heavily electronic black metal proving a perfect accompaniment to the worship of your chosen space deity.
The approach on their latest release, Eschatology, is as eclectic and varied as the stars in the sky. Passages of steely black metal with furious drumming are intertwined with sweeping orchestral pieces and even occasional bouts of beeping electronica. Fortunately, this unusual approach is the ideal vehicle to carry the mood of the sci-fi themed album. There is a feel that a mind unfettered with human ideals of what music should be has stitched all these styles together into a spellbinding tapestry of noise. Some of the individual parts on the album can be a little drab in contrast to the more exotic sections, but they all maintain the hypnotic power that gives the album much of its mystique. The production is the oddest part of the album’s appeal for me. On almost any other album I’d call it a bit thin, sounding just a little bit too computerized to give the music full impact. But given the overall sense of alien strangeness the album goes for, it works. It adds to the overall atmosphere of something just a touch beyond humanity, and, whether by design or accident, it actually ties the whole album together.
Eschatology is an album that creates beauty in musical probing and sheer weirdness. Unlike anything else I have heard, it is worth checking out for its spine-tingling uniqueness alone, and the perfectly formed atmosphere is the icing on the green glowing cake. Album opener “Grand Galactic Empire of Fleshless Beings and Their Machines” (I didn’t name the song, okay) is embedded below, and I highly recommend listening to the full album on Obscurus Codex’s Bandcamp.