DarkTower – Obedientia
Electric Funeral Records
Release Date: 06/11/2019
Running time: 41:38
Review by Victor Augusto
I often ask myself if it is possible that a band will offer anything new nowadays, after everything we know, and have heard, in Heavy Metal. Maybe I am being skeptical, but I don’t think we will ever hear innovation or something revolutionary inside music again. Despite that, I do believe it is possible to find ways to flee from “more of the same”. Following this path, I can mention Brazilian Melodic Black/Death Metal band DarkTower who have been conquering South America for more than 10 years touring regularly and releasing two great albums “…of Chaos and Ascension” (2013) and “Eight Spears” (2016). If these two albums showed to fans their huge technical ability, “Obedientia” comes with a new purpose.
Always inspired in chaos that rules the world, this time DarkTower have got their specific scenario from where they live in Brazil. An unstable country in terms of economy, governments and now, a nation split by political worship that makes them ready to kill each other, blinded by angry and foolish attitudes. No, you won’t hear any political statements like you do with Thrash Metal bands or the antichrist screams associated with Black Metal bands but you will hear all the darkness from their daily anger and suffering, which is very well elucidated by complex and heavy compositions. It is like you are hearing a soundtrack of the apocalypse. A non-fictional apocalypse; A real apocalypse!
The acoustic intro of ‘Punishment’ becomes heavier and epical until ‘Downfall’ devastates all of us with killer riffs, blast beats and screams about the mental maze of a lunatic who cannot think or act for himself due to religious dogma. Next track ‘God Above Nothing’ is the most aggressive song and it represents the church leaders, allied with politics, using the people’s faith to control and manipulate them. This religious theme actually represents exactly what is happening in the band’s country, where the slogan “God Above Everything” was used massively during the most recent political campaign. As I said before, do not expect specific names to be mentioned here, as the idea of “Obedientia” is to make clear how dangerous a nation that worships snakes and lunatics can be, no matter which side they represent.
The instrumental prelude of ‘Highland Ceremony’ explains the story behind ‘Winged Snake’s Communion’. It is about an old South American tribe called Cañari, who, in the mountains of South Ecuador, still keep their old traditions alive even after all the wars and changes in civilization. This song reflects an idea of the traditions Brazil has lost throughout the years. More songs make clear what the band wants to warn you about, like the chorus “I Won’t Kneel For You” in the title track ‘Obedientia’ and the metaphoric references of sculpted leaders when they say “Man of Clay” in the lyrics of ‘Praxis Against Ignorance’.
The main theme is brilliant and very well interpreted by vocalist Flávio Gonçalves with a Black Metal vocal inspiration but also with Death Metal power and the band follow him with the fabulous guitar work of Raphael Casotto and Rafael Morais who alternate insane riffs and solos and create a dense atmosphere. This is highlighted by the great and, sometimes, independent bass lines of Rodolfo Ferreira and drummer Rômulo Grilo increases the heaviness with numerous tempo changes, from slow cadences and percussion to extreme blast beats.
After ‘The Carnal Splendour’ which is the last act of musical violence, the calm and beautiful ‘…As the Obedient Marches to the Abyss’ closes the album! Epic, Powerful, Dark and, at the same time, realistic about the human living chaos!
Maybe “Obedientia” doesn’t bring anything new to listeners, but it is undeniable we are in front of a masterpiece. All the darkness and emotion in the music make the listener enter into this experience angrily. It feels like every detail, every single note and lyric has been studied to create a perfect match between all band members. Listen and appreciate while the obedient march to the abyss.
03. God Above Nothing
04. Highland Ceremony
05. Winged Snake’s Communion
06. Praxis Against Ignorance
08. Rites of Conscience
09. The Carnal Splendour
10. …As The Obedient Marches to the Abyss…
Flávio Gonçalves – Vocals
Raphael Casotto – Guitars
Rafael Morais – Guitars
Rodolfo Ferreira – Bass and Vocals
Rômulo Grilo – Drums
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