Monday 8 January 2024

ALBUM REVIEW: Cruciamentum, “Obsidian Refractions”

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 24/11/2023
Label: Profound Lore Records

“Obsidian Refractions” track listing:
1. Charnel Passages
2. Abhorrence Evangelium
3. Necropolis Of Obsidian Mirrors
4. Scorn Manifestation
5. Interminable Rebirth Of Abomination
6. Drowned
The Review:
British death metal? Well, there are some great examples out there; Bolt Thrower, CarcassCruciamentum?! Yes, them too- even if they have US and UK blood. While we are a few years on from “Charnel Passages”, this sophomore full length picks up where that nasty slab of malevolence left off. Indeed, “Obsidian Refractions” opens with a song called “Charnel Passages” which is creepy and packed with riffs, blasts and double bass drum carnage.
This type of death metal is nothing like the other two mentioned British dead legends. Cruciamentum are dark and complex with an arcane and sinister atmosphere pervading their compositions. It’s not hooky or necessarily song based- it’s atmospheric and evil but not ‘br00tal’ in the way of USDM like Cannibal or Morbid Angel, or Cryptopsy etc.
The six songs on offer here offer up epic soundscapes, during which growled vocals tell tales of suffering and woe. It’s bleak stuff and made bleaker by some black metal type riff progressions here and there. “Abhorrence Evangelium” is more of the same style; lots of tempo changes, some dynamics, a solo of atonal delights and it’s all wrapped up in a very solid production job. “Necropolis of Obsidian Mirrors” is the best title on the album and it’s this kind of fantasy horror that lends itself to death metal so well.
In fact, the whole album is the aural equivalent of a nightmarish landscape, filled with horror both seen and unseen. It’s unsettling and violent. With the second half of the album opening with “Scorn Manifestation” at quite a thrashy gallop, the band manages to engage the listener straight away (on every song) and the blasting verses alternated with slower passages. “Interminable Rebirth of Abomination” starts slower and uses reverb drenched riffage to excellent effect.
As you might expect from the short tracklist, the songs are lengthy; the band stretches to over ten minutes on closer “Drowned” (not an Entombed cover!) with only “Abhorrence…” clocking under five minutes. Epic and sprawling is the order of the day, then, which is perfect for the band’s expansive sound. Drowned mixes sinister atmospherics- imagine Dragged Into Sunlight crossed with Dissection and something American, maybe that’s close-ish to the vibe here. Overall, it’s six dense compositions of thorn filled death metal, played expertly. If you are a death metal fan, this is simply a must hear.
Come and get lost in the labyrinthine nightmare that is “Obsidian Refractions”; you won’t escape these charnel passages unscathed.
“Obsidian Refractions” is available HERE 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook