Friday 26 September 2014

Ibyss - Obsidian (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/5/2014
Label: Self Release / Bandcamp

‘Obsidian’ DD track listing:

1). Weakness (04:58)
2). Monolith (06:33)
3). Last Stitch (03:49)
4). Halo of Thorns (04:52)
5). New Counter (04:15)
6). Carrion Crow (04:42)
7). Holy Trinity (04:42)
8). Like a Knife (04:31)
9). Monuments of Ferocity (09:50)
10). Whispers (05:42)


German Industrial-Metal newcomer Ibyss have just released their self-produced
debut album "Obsidian".  Ten songs, with singer Jens and guitarist Nihil reviving the long forgotten sound of bands like early Godflesh, Pitchshifter and Ministry. 

Hypnotic riffs driven by static yet blowing drumloops, dominated by simple and aggressive vocals. "Obsidian" was made to sound like an echo from a distant past.

The Band:

Nihil | Guitars, bass, samples
Jens | Vocals, guitars, keyboards


Industrial metal crawls back from the scrapyard on the debut album by German band Ibyss, titled ‘Obsidian’. Despite a few parts that I thought were a bit hard to follow, there is a ton of potential stashed away in this band. A few songs on this record evince such an ability to generate a bleak and smog-coated atmosphere, I think this band could mature into something with serious weight.

The first thing you will notice is the unapologetic use of drum machine. No attempt is made to make them sound human, which in the end, is to their credit, as the mood depends on an abiding and unsettling fear of being too soft to get entangled in the machinery. Many times over the course of the album references to weakness, wounding, and a desperate look to religion, spread over the implacable mechanized rhythm; the other instruments feeling like an afterthought or background, fading from the march-and-shout. Their lack creates a foreboding emptiness that emphasizes the inhuman.

Oddly enough it is when they attempt overt melody or a step back from the industrialized edge that they falter, and it comes across as a loss of intensity. The first track, "Weakness", loses what heaviness it has in its plodding indirect pace, seeming to have a message but missing the power and the energy and the subversive motivation of a Godflesh or a Swans. In opposition to this, however, "Carrion Crow" at punches from the first second, a minimalist drilling cloaked in an extra-terrestrial aura of menace that hangs on for (and sometimes despite) the next few tracks.

The human element rears its ugly head again on "Monolith", and they seem to slip into a bit of complacency in their thinking of what constitutes that sparse heaviness they often aim for. The songs like this one just don't seem to -go- anywhere…resting on the main riff for a bit longer than could capture my attention and attempting melodic vocals that don't fit as well with the mood. The last two tunes, "Monuments of Ferocity" and the pseudo-instrumental "Whispers" have a spectral feel, seeming to retreat briefly from the now-blackened outer world to look inside at the wires and new flesh and suddenly feeling like the outsider in your own body.

Fans of bands like Prong, Pitchshifter, early Godflesh and Fear Factory could do worse than paying attention to this band. The moments when they unleash the hypnotic engine contained within their still-human impedimenta are deep and furious….but they seem to be avoiding the gas pedal. I'm curious to see what's next for these guys.

Words by: James Harris

Fans can purchase the digital album for 5 Euros including artwork, photos and a "making-of" video here:  
For more information