Obscura Qalma

A couple of years ago, I discovered Argentine Symphonic death metal band Mortuorial Eclipse, but they have not released anything since 2018s excellent Urushdaur. However, it appears Italy’s new act Obscura Qalmah (Hidden meaning/tradition) is a more than adequate stand-in with their burly, bombastic take on symphonic blackened death metal.

Formed from the members of other obscure Italian melodic death metal/metalcore acts like  From the Shores, As Memory Dies, and Livyatan, Obscura Qalmah delivers an impressive debut that melds the hefty death metal stomps of mid-era Behemoth and the heavy orchestration of a Septicflesh etc. There are deep commanding bellows, some mid-range rasps, blast beats, some very nice militant marches, and lots and lots of dramatic orchestration and choral elements that all come together for a bombastic album that gets better as it gets going.

After the requisite intro “Demise of Sun” the real opener “Impure Black Enlightenment” hammers away with immediate urgency and lets you know what the 40 minutes or so is going to deliver. “Gemini” delivers steadier, mid-paced lumber mixed with more pure blackened Dimmu Borgir theatrics and brass explosions that are pretty rousing. And it all has a very slight Middle Eastern sway lurking underneath all the bombast. But as I said, the album seems to get better. After a couple of decent songs in the album’s midsection, (“The Forbidden Pantheon”, “Transcending the Sefirot”), the album really starts to hit its stride with “Paradise Lost” which has a downright epic ending climax, which shows these guys can do when they hit their stride.  “Fleshbound” and ” The Telemachus Complex” might be my personal favorites as they have nice big orchestral stomps, especially the latter. “Imperial Cult” continues the solid run of tracks with an urgent mix of burly blasts and beefy, dramatic lurches.  “Awaken a Shrine to Oblivion” ends the album on a more restrained almost industrial note, but hey it’s not the expected instrumental fade-out/ close trope.

Obscura Qalmah is a pleasant surprise from a  group of relatively unknown metalcore/melo-death guys and Apotheosis is a bit of a departure for Rising Nemesis, known more for their stable of brutal death metal, but a departure that’s very impressive and a very nice addition to the label, and a band that is firmly on my radar even if/when Mortuorial Eclipse delivers new material.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 11th, 2021


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