Obsidian Tongue
A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time

After a little bit of a misstep with the Netra release, Hypnotic Dirge is back on track with a handful of very solid releases (Odradek Room, Galaktik Cancer Squad, Lycanthia, Frigoris), the best of which is the second album from Massachusetts atmospheric black metal act Obsidian Tongue, and for those of you who are fans of Agalloch , early Woods of Ypres and Thrawsunbalt, you should probably get this now.

And I don’t just throw Agalloch, Woods of Yres/Thrawsunblat out there because John Haughm delivers guest vocals on the album’s title track or features Thrawsunblat/Woods of Ypres session member Brendan Hayter on guitars/vocals as Obsidian Tongue tread the same Pacific Northwest almost ‘grey’ or ‘cascadian’ metal as Agalloch as well as the likes of Falls of Rauros, Wolves in the Throne Room and such. Regardless of who they sound like, A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time is a stellar release that delivers top notch music with plenty of introspective atmospherics and complimentary hues of distant, dank black metal and enthralling ambiance.

As with most similar, like-minded releases, A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time is best experienced while walking in the woods at dusk in the fall. The scent of foliage and the tranquility of the dusk sky are perfect complement to the album’s mesmerizing 52-minute run time and warm, earthy guitars. Distant rasps meld with deep, somber clean vocals while the riffs deliver patient, haunting melodies, delicate atmospherics and a few shrill but still contemplative, black blasts.

While a large part of the albums 6 rangy songs are more relaxed and patient with injections of subtle aggression, as heard on the likes of opener “Brothers in the Stars” or “Black Hole in Human Form”, the band is still able to purely bear their teeth once in a while as heard on “The Birth of Tragedy”, or “Individuation”. But, as I mentioned earlier, the album is best taken in its entirety rather than single out moments. Just simply put on some headphones and absorb the likes of standout “My Hands Hold the Wind” or the aforementioned title track where Agalloch‘s John Haughm adds even more austere elegance and depth to an already alluring, beautiful song.

The upcoming Vattnet Viskar release my get more attention as far as atmospheric Northeast US Black metal, but don’t overlook this eloquent little release from Hypnotic Dirge who look to be starting to make a mark in international black metal circles.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 9th, 2013

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