Obelyskkh – White Lightnin’ [9 out of 10]

By Andrew Bansal

2012 is turning out to be an excellent year for doom metal, and we’ve already seen a few great releases that represent this sub-genre. I’ve been enjoying this musical style through these albums, and I must admit, during the course of this year I’ve become a bigger fan of doom metal than I ever was, and as a result I’ve been exploring this kind of music a lot more. So when I got a download link for “White Lightnin'”, the second studio album from German doom quartet Obelyskkh releasing on October 16th via Exile On Mainstream records, I immediately decided to go back into the band’s history and listen to their first album “Mount Nysa”. I was impressed by what I heard. The music had all the qualities of doom metal, but also had a strong atmospheric feel to it, which made it catchy in a strange sort of way. Subsequently, I downloaded the new album to see what Obelyskkh has come up with this time.

The dirty low-end fuzz of the bass dominated the first album, and is still very much at the helm on “White Lightnin'”, and in fact, it has gotten even dirtier and more gnarly in comparison. The music on the whole is more dynamic, with the band expanding on both sides of the spectrum. Guitarist Torsten Trautwein has incorporated some dark melodies that go together beautifully with the crushing rhythm section. This is demonstrated perfectly on the opening track “The Enochian Keys”, and characterizes the entire 63-minute album.

The 7-track onslaught moves from strength to strength and deals one severe blow after another on the listener’s ear. All seven tunes are repetitive in nature. Now, as per the ‘normal’ metal standard, repetitiveness gets boring really fast, but in the case of this Obelyskkh album, listeners would actually welcome it, because the musical patterns decorating each of these tunes are ominous on first listen itself, each repetition has a powerful, meditative effect which only heightens their impact further.

Even though the seven tunes form a cohesive set altogether and have the same basic songwriting approach, each of them is a little different from the others, and vary in terms of the musical content. While “Amphetamine Animal” is completely dominant on the low-end, “Mount Nysa” is the most melodic tune on the album, and “Invocation To The Old Ones” is by far the most random, spacey, psychedelic composition on here. So the album is not monotonous by any means, and offers a lot more than what you’d expect from a doom metal band. Besides the music itself, the mix is absolutely ideal for an album in this genre, and props go out to Billy Anderson for doing a stellar job and bringing the best out of yet another band.

Having started out in 2008, Obelyskkh took four years to come up with their debut album, but thankfully, they’ve taken only a year after that to release “White Lightnin'”, because they’ve unearthed another gem, in quick time. It’s the dirtiest and most ominous, yet the catchiest doom metal release of the year so far. If you’re a fan of Sleep, Neurosis, Saint Vitus, Eyehategod and the likes, this new Obelyskkh offering is a must-have, and you need to get a hold of it as soon as you possibly can.

Rating: 9/10

Record Label: Exile On Mainstream
Release Date: October 16th 2012

Track Listing:
1. The Enochian Keys
2. Elegy
3. The White Lightning
4. Mount Nysa
5. Amphetamine Animal
6. Abysmal Desert Cavern
7. Invocation To The Old Ones


[Band photos courtesy of Mike Wiener]