Obey – Swallow The Sun
Release date: 05/04/2019
Running Time: 37:00
Review by Alun Jones
OBEY! CONSUME! CONFORM! Have you seen John Carpenter’s masterpiece of paranoid sci-fi, “They Live”? It’s outstanding. Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on some special sunglasses and is able to see the aliens living amongst us, brainwashing and controlling society. With the constant subliminal media messages exposed, Rod and his mates attempt to destroy the conspiracy and free the human race from subjugation.
I don’t know if Obey – the band – have ever seen this awesome movie, but these guys have definitely (to paraphrase Roddy) come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… And they’re all out of bubblegum.
“Swallow The Sun” is the fourth album from Obey and it doesn’t disappoint. The listener gets more thunderous, rhythmic riffing that bridges across Hard Rock and Metal, courtesy of Steve Pickin (guitar/vocals), Dan Ryder (guitar/bass) and Ryan Gillespie (Drums). Add in a progressive, exploratory approach that’s open to wide influences, and what we have here is an album full of ideas that constantly reveals new depths with repeated listens.
Take bombastic opening track ‘Back Home’: it starts out in familiar crunching guitar riff territory, but unleashes a huge chorus that’s catchier than Velcro underpants. I wasn’t convinced on first listen, but this melody works so hard that despite being a surprise it’s a winner.
‘Drive’ offers more of the brutal riffing that Obey are known for, but with lush, melodic moments – not to mention a total classic rock lead.
Midway through the album is ‘Esmeralda and the Dam Blues’, a track that begins with a mellower, supernatural sound – giving way to a massive, chunky chorus. These songs are extremely well constructed, taking the listener on a stellar journey that’s refreshing and far from obvious cliché.
Some of Obey’s influences appear to froth to the surface with the album’s title track, which has a feel of Mastodon about it. Mix in some vintage Prong rifferama and the melodic tendencies of Alice in Chains and you’re a tiny step closer to understanding which star system the planet Obey revolves in.
Obey’s ability to meld face smashing heavy with unexpectedly tuneful moments gives this album it’s unique identity. “Swallow The Sun” is the kind of album that you can rock out to (can’t wait to see these guys live again), or take your time and listen on headphones to savour the detail.
If anything, I’d like to see further experimentation from Obey as the band grows. ‘Star Crusher’ is an obscenely huge yet groovy COC style track, but sadly lasts less than a minute. More experimentation with different interludes and variations of pace and intensity can only add more colour to their cosmic palate.
There’s very little to grumble about with “Swallow The Sun” though. What we have is an intricately created collection of songs with maximum power and thoughtful embellishments. Obey are a British band with real talent and ambition – check them out and lend them your support.
And beware of those ugly, skull faced aliens. They want to keep you in line and be part of the system. Get yourself some sunglasses and see what’s going on. Open your eyes and fight!
01. Back Home
03. Call Of The Judderman
04. Star Crusher
05. Esmeralda and the Dam Blues
06. Swallow The Sun
07. The Mountain
09. Emerald Eyes
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