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Deux types qui se répartissent les tâches des instruments et de la voix, cela me rappelle un autre duo : Anaal Nathrakh. La comparaison va s’arrêter là pour Obitus, leur « Slaves of the vast Machine » étant bien plus intéressant que les dernières sorties des Anglais.

Un seul titre, éponyme, de quarante-cinq minutes, c’est ambitieux. Mais dans un exercice tel que celui-là, l’ambition n’est pas le problème, ni même la volonté, c’est plutôt de savoir si les musiciens sont à la hauteur du défi qu’ils se lancent : leur capacité d’inventivité et d’écriture est-elle suffisante pour orchestrer une pièce unique ? En effet, on sait bien qu’un long titre n’est pas la somme de plus courts d’entre lesquels on supprimerait les blancs, ce serait trop simple. Et à cette question, qui ne changera rien à la face du monde, je réponds oui. Le Black-Métal froid, voire Industriel, d’Obitus est parfaitement adapté à ce concept : sacrée réussite.

Longueur oblige, la musique ne peut pas blaster systématiquement et le chanteur s’égosiller sans cesse. Du coup, les plages purement instrumentales sont nombreuses, faisant la part belle aux dissonances, aux cassures d’ambiances, alternant avec habilité les tempos dans un climat frôlant le zéro absolu. Il est d’ailleurs assez surprenant de se rendre compte que, du point de vue de l’inspiration, le duo suédois s’appuie plutôt sur du traditionnel, sans chercher à faire du bizarre afin de meubler de potentiels coups de mou (il n’y en a aucun d’ailleurs). Captivant, de la première à la dernière seconde.


Rating: 7/10

Review by:soilchronicles.fr

Oké, tijd om nog eens een plaatje te reviewen die mijn jaarlijst absoluut zal halen. Samen met het Zweedse Waning raad ik sinds jaar en dag dit Obitus aan. Obitus maakt industriële black metal – die volgens mij (en anderen) ergens tussen Aborym en Anaal Nathrakh geplaatst moest worden – en doet dat met zeer veel verve. Deze nieuwe plaat bestaat uit één enkel nummer, dat dik drie kwartier lang duurt.

Ook Slaves of the Vast Machine is en hersenpanverpulverende machine geworden, allesvernietigend blackmetaltuig. Continu wordt een oorverdovend en pulserend spervuur aan gemene, Zweedse zwart metalen riffs (Marduk!) door je gehoorgangen gejaagd, om na vijf minuten aan een gematigder cadans (met militaristische Mayhem) klopboorgewijs je reden tot bestaan te molesteren. Later volgt nog een iets melodieuzere fase, inclusief extreme Red Harvest-passages, die allerminst voor de hand liggen. Hou er rekening mee dat de messcherpe Zweedse black alomtegenwoordig blijft en het giftige geschreeuw onaflatend je kant uitkomt. Murw blijf je achter na een luisterbeurt, als je het al uithoudt tot het einde.

Jaarlijst dus, omwille van de impact, de constructies, de brutaliteit in combinatie met de zure agressie, de sound en de inhoud. Niet voor beginners, dit Slaves of the Vast Machine, dus bezint eer ge begint. Ik ben in ieder geval opnieuw zwaar onder de indruk! Hypnotic Dirge heeft een klapper binnen gehaald.

“If life matters, life worth losing

for there to be life it has to be worth living

I choose death”


Zo is het maar net.


Rating: 87/100

Review by:zwaremetalen.com

Obitus est un duo suédois de black metal, actif depuis 2000 et formé par Anders Ahlbäck (instruments) et Johan Huldtgren (vocals). Obitus est un mot latin qui signifie « mort ». Le duo a sorti son premier album The March of the Drones en 2009 via Eerie Art Records et Slaves of the Vast Machine se présente donc comme son dernier effort. Même si le duo est actif depuis 2000 sa discographie entre split et démos n’est pas énorme et elle est plutôt gage de qualité. On aimerait juste souligner le beau split réalisé en 2014 sorti via Dissension Records et qui se nomme Elemental Nightmares – IV. Ce split réunit les groupes Obitus / Canopy / Harasai / Kall et il est épuisé, oui et non. Oui si on veut s’acheter ce vinyle. Non si on veut s’acheter la totalité de la série Elemental Nightmares qui se compose de 7 vinyles au total et donc de plusieurs groupes cult. Les 7 pochettes mises côte à côte forment un artwork très beau. On peut l’écouter ici :
https://elemental-nightmares.bandcamp.com/album/elemental-nightmares-i-vii
Et si vous voulez l’acheter ici c’est moins cher :
https://dissension.se/itemInfo.php?itemId=18

Slaves of the Vast Machine de Obitus est à la fois le nom de ce nouvel album – cru 2017 – et le nom de la seule chanson présente qui dure 45 : 40. Inutile de dire qu’il s’agit d’un tour de force énorme. Dans ce voyage au cœur du black metal, Anders Ahlbäck (qui a écrit la musique) et Johan Huldtgren (qui a écrit les textes), se sont fait épauler pour les vocals death metal de Frederik Huldtgreen chanteur de Canopy et de Kaos Vortex. Et comme pour boucler la boucle Obitus, Canopy et Kaos Vortex étaient sur les splits Elemental Nightmares et étaient signé à cette époque-là par le label Dissension Records.

Il est difficile pour moi de présenter dans le détail cet album / chanson. Je tâcherai d’en donner une idée générale sachant aussi que l’on peut écouter intégral et en streaming pour se faire une idée plus précise. Déjà on ne peut que saluer la démarche jusqu’au-boutiste de présenter un album/chanson de 45 minutes. On trie déjà au départ son auditoire. Il faut trouver ce temps-là et plusieurs fois pour se dédier à cet opus de façon convenable. Musicalement Obitus fait du black metal. Le riffing est serré et acéré comme la tradition scandinave mais la production propre et aseptisée pose Obitus à la lisière du black metal industriel. Je répète black metal industriel pour le son et pas par la façon de jouer. Industriel aussi pour l’axe thématique choisi par le groupe. Obitus se figure un monde moderne et dystopique où tout est surveillé et sous contrôle. Comme l’œil d’un Panopticon futuriste, le monde futur est oppressé par un totalitarisme qui contrôle tout. La seule échappatoire est la mort ou le suicide:

"if life matters, life worth losing

for there to be life it has to be worth living

I choose death"


Le titre est très direct et ravageur du début à la fin. Et si – vu sa durée – on aurait pu s’attendre à des breaks, des accalmies, des variations, il n’est est pas question. Il y des évolutions certes, mais la tonalité de Slaves of the Vast Machine reste la même et uniforme. Le black metal est dissonant à souhait et vous transperce grâce à sa force et à sa violence. Bref la bande son du nouveau millénaire. A bon entendeur…


Rating: 9/10

Review by:metallifer.blogspot.com

The Swedes of Obitus return with their second album full of hatred and spite. ‘Slaves Of The Vast Machine’ is a prime example of industrial black metal done right. Containing only one massive 45 minute song, Obitus hasn’t made it easy for themselves. Luckily, Obitus know a thing or two about song-writing. ‘Slaves Of The Vast Machine’ is a violent journey through hatred, nihilism, totalitarian regimes and dystopian societies. Relentlessly raging, but certainly not without aim or subtlety; Obitus puts in just enough variation while the sheer magnitude of the song stays intact. Like a blend of Darkspace and ‘Panzer Division Marduk’, ‘Slaves Of The Vast Machine takes no prisoners, but instead executes them on the spot. Recommended.

Rating: 80/100

Review by:lordsofmetal.nl

 

Special respect is due to bands who manage to strike a firm balance of the traditional and adventurous sides of black metal. Although recent years have seen a mutual understanding and appreciation between these two ‘schools’, it is less rare to hear a band that goes balls-out with avant-garde technique than to hear one who dares tempt extremity via more restrained means. With Slaves of the Vast Machine, I’m reminded of the straightforward blasting intensity of a band like Marduk: hateful, hellbent, and true to tradition. But this album also consists of a single, sprawling forty-five minute track, offering the coldly industrial undertones I could expect from one of the new wave.

Not that the comparison can extend so far, but I felt pretty quickly reminded of what Edge of Sanity did for Swedish melodic death metal with their masterpiece Crimson—the individual idea on that album probably wouldn’t have sounded too outlandish on a regular album, but the vast scope and progressive structure took their vision up a notch. I feel some of that same effect applies to Obitus here with Slaves of the Vast Machine. The twenty-plus years since Crimson have obviously upped the bar in terms of the sort of sheer ambition it takes to really impress, but there’s never going to be a point where a single sprawl of music like this won’t turn some heads.

Although no one structures a metal album in this way without wanting to draw direct attention to that aspect, Obitus are clever to evade the same typical progressive rock pretenses in the material itself. Slaves of the Vast Machine is consistently punishing and aggressive throughout, best seen as a collection of related movements than a singular composition. The music is largely defined by the incredibly martial, appropriately oppressive atmosphere. Through the coldly industrial tone of some of their riffs and the disciplined machine-gun rhythms, Obitus create a vivid sonic manifestation of totalitarianism. Given the misanthropic message on this album, as well as on the debut, 2009’s March of the Drones, it’s clear that Obitus wanted to convey the Orwellian boot on a human face. Suffice it to say that the only other metal band I’ve heard evoke such an authentic dystopia in their music is Chicago’s Kommandant; the two bands would find good company in one another.

The unrelenting violence and martial atmosphere on Slaves of the Vast Machine makes it stand out, far more than the track structure, which might have come off as a gimmick had they not backed it up with such fury. Truth be told, the album might have worked even better with several minutes shaved off the length; thirty-five minutes of unrelenting aggression can say as much as forty-five. The material isn’t quite consistent enough to justify its ambitious structure, and I was a bit let down when the album lacked the pummeling conclusion I was expecting from such a sprawling arrangement. With that said, however, imperfections and a less impressive second half have nothing on the album’s military atmosphere. The dystopia of the future is near, and Obitus are here to force-march their listeners to the bloody end.


Review by:heathenharvest.org

 

Another challenge came, another challenge accepted. After going through sleepless nights to tell you about Arkhaeon's "Beyond", here I am, dealing with another single track release. This record comes from the mind of the Swedish black metal band Obitus, a duo composed of Anders Ahlbäck (all instruments) and Johan Huldtgren (vocals), who were helped for the occasion by Fredrik Huldtgren (death vocals sections) and is entitled "Slaves Of The Vast Machine".

«If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.»

«No questions / No answers / Is this what your life's become? / Was your life always this cheap? / There is the line / This is where it ends.»

«if life matters, life is worth losing for there be life if has to be worth living / I choose Death.»

You will be wondering why I reported since the earliest moments these quotes extracted from the lyrics before going deeper into the album, and the answer is simple: because they are able to represent its dystopic, totalitaristic, deviated, insane to the bone and relentlessly decadent essence.

Obitus' performance winds up without mercy, perverted and excruciating inside a forty-five minute long single act, where cessation of hostilities is not admitted. The landscape is monochromatic and faithful to the black, fed up with dissonant chords and tremolo picking, supported by bitter tightly programmed drums and with vocals (of black metal origin, with some death oriented parts) that increases the violence a lot. The results obtained by this devastation doesn't foresee any sort of future, hope or light, to the point that human annihilation (you made your bed, lie in it) seems to be the only acceptable, and inevitable, solution.

I won't bore you pointlessly, realizing a list of the possible — and moreover, not difficult to pinpoint — influences that you can find inside the music created by these Swedes, neither I will drone on describing "Slaves Of The Vast Machine". Once the CD starts, the album will be on you without compromises, by making you understand without any doubt if Obitus are good for you or not. If you feel satisfied by the collision with waves of furious, albeit reasoned, ruthlessness, you would have enough reasons to buy this without any regret. Tomorrow? It could never come.


Review by:aristocraziawebzine.com

 

In formative years all we heard was radio gaga, short songs designed for unchallenging airplay. Of course there was classical music and opera which lasted for several centuries but that was for fossils not for young kids with whole lives ahead of them. Naturally as years piled up exposure to other types of music led to an increase in compositional length, we had prog rock and the dinosaurs that played that could really plod on. Doom led to even further realms but could really send you to Sleep (pun completely intended) so I stuck largely to punk rock at least that was safe until The Damned went and dropped Curtain Call on me. Black metal at first seemed somewhat safe, short, sharp and shocking until I had another surprise in that respect on discovering Enslaved album Eld, “how dare they’ it’s like prog at the speed of light I thought” before falling absolutely head over heels with it. What I am getting at is that we are more used to songs that go on a bit today look at the recent Cultes Des Ghoules album with its 20 minute numbers for example. Obitus who were extreme enough in the first place have taken things to even more extremes though with their second album clocking in with just one track at a whopping 45 minutes and 42 seconds running time. For the genre this must be some sort of record; or CD as is the case with it arriving here.

I remembered this Swedish duo from 2009 album ‘March Of The Drones’ and although cannot remember what I said at the time, a play-through of this continuous yet divided by name in parts album shows what they were evilly formulating and I can assure droning is the last thing on their minds here. The cold, grim and militant album cover with prison like structure kind of shows you that once you have pressed play here there will be absolutely no chance of escape. One sharp note and everything drops in, in a hellish swarming blur. Guitars scythe, drums bounce and crunch and the vocals with sharp thorn laden sickness at their midst snap away along with the dense musical deluge. Dissonance and misanthropy are the key elements of focus here and that can be difficult enough to deal with for many in an average sized track and this is anything but. This is not black metal for weakeners or hipsters in any remote sense and they should be warned away to stick with their Deafheaven and Alcest albums.

There are obviously times when the music is left to slow down a little and weave away at a slightly slower pace but on the whole this is incredibly potent and vicious stuff and could easily be summed up with the description of “fucking hostile.” The production is suitably brash, snappy and powerful and you really get the rolling bounce of the drums powering through you along with the grating bite from the vocals. The lyrics are not at my disposal and in a way that’s probably a good thing as Johan Huldtgren, who provides them as Anders Ahlbäck plunders away at everything else, sounds mightily pissed off at the world. Like the actual song I could keep on and on as it does but that would get us nowhere. What I will say is that not only does it not run out of batteries but it somehow keeps interest levels up throughout duration, never becoming stale or boring and it has certainly not felt like an endurance test as I realise I should give it another play for reviewing purposes.

I’m not sure how natural the pair found putting this together, there is at times a certain jam element about it but we are not privileged to tales of whether they recorded it in one take or not. As for them playing it live…. Well there’s a thought but it would probably involve mass casualty both on and off the stage. This machine is definitely vast, become its slave if you dare!


Rating: 8/10

Review by:avenoctum.com

 

Hypnotic Dirge Records atto terzo: in poco meno di un mese ho recensito il ritorno dei Netra, il debutto dei None e ora mi ritrovo fra le mani il comeback discografico degli svedesi Obitus, che arriva a distanza di ben otto anni dal precedente 'March of the Drones' e addirittura a 17 dalla fondazione della band. Se la sono presa con calma i due loschi figuri di Gotheburg: 'Slaves of the Vast Machines' esce per l'etichetta canadese, qui supportata dall'americana Black Plague Records, in un clima di guerra, proponendo un irruente e schizofrenico black metal che ben si riflette nell'unica lunghissima traccia contenuta nel disco. La furia belluina è tradotta in ritmiche assassine, caratterizzate da una violenza cataclismatica anzi, visti i tempi, direi apocalittica. C'è ben poco da scherzare con questi musicisti svedesi che dalla tradizione musicale del loro paese non pescano granché, se non quella nera fuliggine dei Dark Funeral. La musica dei nostri sembra infatti un ipotetico ibrido tra il sound malsano ed esacerbato dei Deathspell Omega miscelato con le ritmiche infernali del post black americano, anche se ammetto di averci sentito un che dei primi Aborym al suo interno, qualcosa in fatto di velocità disumane degli Anaal Nathrakh e un po' di malvagità di scuola Mayhem. Le istruzioni per l'uso e consumo di questo disco devono esser chiare fin dai primi minuti di devastazione totale intessuti dalla band scandinava. I primi dieci minuti sono infatti affidati a ritmiche affilatissime che ben poco spazio lasciano alla melodia e al ragionamento; una prima pausa la si riesce a fare tra l'undicesimo e il quattordicesimo minuto, ma è chiaro che è solo un modo per condurre l'ascoltatore sul precipizio del burrone e spingerlo di sotto senza alcuna pietà. E la promessa è certamente mantenuta in quanto l'act svedese, da li a breve, si riaffiderà a ritmiche serrate, blast beat psicotici e screaming vocals iraconde. Splendido il mood glaciale che si respira grazie a quelle chitarre affilate come rasoi a tessere maestosi riff nordici. Un secondo break tra il 18esimo e il 19esimo minuto, serve più che altro per salvaguardare la salute mentale di chi ascolta e poi giù di nuovo a picchiare come dei fabbri con chitarre tra lo zanzaroso e il tremolante, un drumming che corre a velocità forsennate e le vocals lacerate e raggelanti, per un risultato che, pur non aggiungendo nulla di nuovo al genere, dà comunque modo di rivedere il concetto di velocità all'iperuranio, urla lancinanti e atmosfere diaboliche. Questi sono gli Obitus del 2017, non so quando avremo modo di riascoltarli con un nuovo album, fate quindi buon uso di 'Slaves of the Vast Machines', usando comunque tutte le precauzioni del caso, rischia di essere letale. (Francesco Scarci)

Rating: 70/100

Review by:thepitofthedamned.blogspot.it

 

I've only had this album in my collection for a couple of weeks, but every time I can't figure out what to listen to, I find myself being magnetically drawn to Slaves Of The Vast Machine. It calls to me, begging for further exploration. I wasn't surprised when I recently discovered that one of the masterminds of Obitus was in Waning - one of my favorite modern Black Metal bands. We have here a 45 minute long song that seems to go by in 5 minutes. I always have to press repeat, one listen in a sitting is never enough. While easy to focus on the lethal blasting assault that is constantly twisting through my brain like a mechanical corkscrew, it pays to focus on the other aspects of this song & not let it rush by. The breaks are meticulously calculated to even things out & give you ample time to breathe before being thrown back to the assault. There's a particular section around 11:30 that captivates me more every time, I have to stop what I'm doing - even if all I'm doing is thinking about what I'm listening to - and seriously focus on the dreary majesty. The sound of this song as a whole is perfect. The guitar tone is flawless, the bass is actively prominent, the drums & vocals neatly layered throughout. All instruments have their own dominance while giving each other their own space. Do you want an album that reminds you all too perfectly how insignificant your life as a human is? Buy this. NOW. It's an early call, but this is my album of the year. I am aware there are a lot of potentially great albums to come, but I am also aware that nothing can top this. While this album may be dystopian in nature, the story which unfolded in my mind was more akin to global extinction than enslavement. Stand by... Humanity has ignored the warnings, taking in to account its own individual greed but nothing else. We neglected & abused our world, now we all must pay no matter our sins against nature, for we have become cancer to our mother. The world drowns. I awaken suddenly, floating in water. I am allowed only enough time to glance around me in all directions to realize I'm stranded in the middle of a vast ocean. The sky turns a dark ashen grey & the waters get choppy before I can gather my thoughts. Immediately wave after wave hammer at my body, pulling me under and thrusting me out with intense force. I struggle to capture any breath I can but a split second doesn't afford me the luxury. There are moments where the waters calm for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes giving me the enjoyment of filling my lungs with air while lightning strikes & thunder roars around me, but no matter how long I get to breathe it never feels long enough. Before I know it I'm back to having my body beaten senseless by the unrelenting current, forcing me to forfeit all breath drawn. Crippled & out of breath, I succumb to the ruthlessness of nature, feeling pleased with the fact that the rest of humanity has suffered the same fate as I.

"If life matters, life is worth losing For there to be life it has to be worth living I CHOOSE DEATH"

This album makes me feel ruthless & impertinent.


Review by:sentientauralmajesty.blogspot.com/

 

La historia de la banda que nos ocupa se remonta al año 2000, cuando un par de suecos unen sus fuerzas para crear OBITUS, sacando al poco tiempo una primera demo y un split compartido con KULT OV AZAZEL, HUMANICIDE y THY LORD, dos precedentes de lo que sería el primer larga duración del grupo “Sonnilon”, que no llegó a publicarse oficialmente. Con el paso de los años el grupo fue evolucionando, y también su sonido, por lo que rescataron tres temas de su anterior disco, con el que no estaban del todo satisfechos, y los adaptaron a la nueva etapa de la banda publicando un EP titulado “Strategema”. Fue en 2009 cuando publican el primer larga duración de su nueva etapa, “The March of the Drones”, con un solo tema de alrededor de tres cuartos de hora, que es el precedente más inmediato a su nuevo disco, sin contar el split “Elemental Nightmares – IV” en el que contribuyeron con un tema.

Tras el breve repaso biográfico a la trayectoria de OBITUS regresamos a 2017, cuando de la mano del sello canadiense Hypnotic Dirge Records ve la luz el nuevo disco del grupo, un trabajo que como su predecesor cuenta únicamente con un corte de alrededor de 45 minutos de duración. El disco en cuestión se titula “Slaves of the Vast Machine” y da buena muestra de las posibilidades del Post Black Metal más frío y crudo para desarrollar composiciones que se alargan hasta la extenuación sin necesidad de recurrir a las repeticiones ni caer en el aburrimiento. Incluso parece como si el corte único fuesen varios temas ensamblados en uno solo, eso sí, empalmados con talento para que el flujo no se detenga ni un instante. Es por eso que sorprende la capacidad del dúo para hacer fluir una música tan extrema y oscura, con predominio de las partes rápidas y agresivas, aunque sin olvidar ciertos momentos sombríos de cadencias más aletargadas.

Concluyendo, estamos ante un trabajo más que interesante, de hecho la parte más floja del disco es la parte gráfica, un tanto pobre visualmente, que contrasta con el derroche de intensidad y creatividad extrema que hay a lo largo de los tres cuartos de hora de “Slaves of the Vast Machine”. Por otro lado puede que con temas tan largos OBITUS ahuyenten al público menos habituado al underground, pero quienes sabemos apreciar este arte oscuro encontraremos un disco tan fascinante como siniestro que nos meterá de lleno en una verdadera tormenta de música extrema y perturbadora. Además hay que decir que el sonido está muy logrado, por lo que es recomendable la escucha a todo volumen.


Rating: 8.5/10

Review by:noizzwebzine.blogspot.com

 

Le concept d'album à un morceau commence vraiment à sentir le roussi. Il est si vétuste et ennuyant que je trouve anecdotique et emmerdant que les artistes songent même à envisager la possibilité d'en réaliser un. Pourquoi ? Parce que c'est épuisant et que rares sont les groupes comme MOONSORROW, et plus récemment INSOMNIUM, qui ont réussi l'exercice avec brio en divisant clairement leur pavé en tranches digestes.

Ce qui n'est pas entièrement le cas du Suédois OBITUS, qui pousse l'affront à consacrer son deuxième album à ce format détestable. Surplus de confiance après un premier album de qualité ou simplement envie bizarre de se dépasser ? Peu importe la motivation du duo, je dois vous dire que son Black incisif aux relents Death et Indus est d'une telle grisaille et d'une si opaque noirceur par endroits que ce n'est pas une sinécure d'achever le puzzle de 45:40. C'est long 45 minutes pour une seule pièce. Certains trouvent ça presque interminable pour un album, alors imaginez...

Mais vous savez, le chemin du chroniqueur est parsemé de défis à la hauteur de sa passion, donc on se lance tronche baissée, toutes cornes dehors, afin d'analyser et noter cet effort colossal d'OBITUS. Après maintes écoutes, on arrive à distinguer des éclaircies d'une ou deux minutes dans cette tempête corrosive, dont à 11:00, à 18:00, à 22:00 et à 35:30. Ça nous incite à poursuivre notre route. Le reste ? Apprêtez-vous à devenir un tout petit atome dans un déluge de riffs, de double pédale et de bastonnades farouches, sous couvert d'un univers mat, violent, sans espoir, inhumain et froid comme la mort.

"Slaves Of The Vast Machine" est une grosse pompe hydraulique nous pistonnant les tempes à chaque instant. Je ne vois pas image plus percutante pour décrire la somme de boulot abattue par OBITUS pour argumenter sa thèse de départ : nous sommes emprisonnés dans une énorme machine dont il nous sera difficile de nous évader. Faudra gruger les barreaux de notre cellule avec nos dents si on souhaite un beau jour en sortir.

Ce cul-de-sac est abominablement décrit dans ce Black propre et pourtant si infesté. La hargne dans le chant de Johan Huldtgren est palpable et colle irrésistiblement aux instruments trempés dans le cyanure d'A.A., qui ne souffre ici d'aucune comparaison dans son jeu tellement il est intense et envoûtant. OBITUS impose le respect dès les premières minutes avec un coup de vent quasi cosmique et à chaque page de sa Bible anticonformiste, il nous assène de brutaux coups de masse pour nous attirer dans sa réalité, enfin, ce qu'il est persuadé d'observer de ses yeux rougis.

Dès que la toxine s'est nichée dans notre amas de déchets organiques, elle nous pousse à ressauter dans cet étourdissant manège, sans les appréhensions que nous pouvions ruminer au départ. Il est vrai que les voyages sans escales peuvent s'avérer tordus, mais quand c'est obnubilant comme "Slaves Of The Vast Machine", on s'en balance.

OBITUS frappe fort avec cette œuvre intimidante, ce cachalot Indus qui crache une mer de distorsion dans notre vision de l'existence. "Slaves Of The Vast Machine" déboulonne nos acquis en projetant de nouvelles perspectives, certes désespérantes, mais plus véridiques que l'on aurait pu imaginer...


Rating: 3.5/5

Review by:metal.nightfall.fr

 

As a true testament of intensity and brutality, today we Obitus’s latest full-length “Slaves of the Vast Machine”. Comprised of one 45-minute behemoth of a track, this release showcases a master class in crafting intricate Black Metal music that is both engaging and ravaging. While most people would expect this piece to be filled with interludes and atmospheric passages, we are treated to quite the opposite as it is intense and violent from start to finish.

The sole track waits no time to deliver is blistering message with a barrage of punishing riffs and crushing drums. This opening level of intensity is quite brutal and it showcases that Obitus is here and it means business. The band’s vocalist, Johan Huldtgren, does a great job unleashing aggressive BM shrieks that perfectly fit the intensity and rawness of the music. Multi-instrumentalist, Anders Ahlbäck, brings down the hammer with superbly crafted drum patterns and intricate tremolo picking sections which bring this release to life.

For over 45 minutes the band weaves back a forth between hyper fast sections and punishing build up passages, never once considerably slowing things down or showing signs of exhaustion. We are quite impressed with the ravaging intensity this release has and how it abuses the listener’s speakers. If you like powerful Black Metal that does not let go, pick this one up and be ready to be blown to pieces.


Rating: 88/100

Review by:www.infernalmasquerade.com

 

A one song album... yes, ONE song at 45 minutes. In the extreme Metal scene this is not an easy thing to do. And even more difficult to achieve success. Well, here this Swedish duo of hypnotic Black Metal and formed back in 2000 does it in their second album and I must say that they do it with a great degree of triumph. The first thing that strikes is the very distinctive tone of the song. Hypnotic and asphyxiating is the name. There is melody hidden under the very fast riffs done here, at times reminding of early Black Metal era DARKTHRONE with some early MARDUK touches and I can sense a bit of suicidal Black Metal references. Even at times a really morbid Death Metal touch can be heard. The sound is completed with a few passages that have more of an industrialized influence, yet never really becoming industrial music per se. Obviously such a long song has a variation of tempos here and there to make things interesting, but I must mention that hardly any time the intensity is lost. The vocals are probably my least favorite thing here, as they are adequate for a Black Metal band, yes, but some variation would have helped to make things more interesting, as it usually keep the same tone all around. This is a beast that must be heard quite a few times to appreciate all of it. Some people might find it hard to digest one Black Metal song of such duration on one sit, and while it has a nice tone of sound, yet it can turn out to be a bit monotone for those seeking the best of it in the first listening. Also, the lyrical aspect of the band is more interesting than just looking for the evil one itself. Man is the greatest evil? Patience and time will make this one grow as the beast it is. It has its rewards hidden in the layers of darkness.

Review by:voicesfromthedarkside.de

 

Obitus have stared down the barrel of dystopian torment for years, feeding omens of oppression to the already oppressed masses. The Swedish post-black metal act revel in the mire of a ruined nation as much as they wallow and have an uncanny way of painting a bleak picture of totalitarian hopelessness… boot plus face plus forever comes to mind. If the future looks like this then get your stomping shoes on… I’m in!

Cold and calculating, Slaves of the Vast Machine moves with unrelenting force over its monolithic 45 minute runtime, with each minute passing fluidly and not in any way dawdling by. No filler all fucking killer. Structured beautifully and insanely fulfilling this single piece of apocalyptical hatred oddly enough breezes by leaving behind remnants of a devastated distant time. Booming with scathing icy riffs that’ll strip the flesh off a cat and pummelling machine gun blastbeats this epic single track is truly a black metal behemoth built to play over the dystopian wastelands as the soundtrack to armageddon.

Reminding me somewhat of Anaal Nathrakh’s Mick and Dave for their assigned arsenal, Obitus’ vocalist Johan Huldtgren and multi-instrumental-meister Anders Ahlback reign supreme as both members put the entire fury of miserable emptiness into this release, along with the boot and laces. Huldtgren’s venomous vocals seethe with the passion of a man defiled by a life in suffering, going full method actor for his part in this story. Ahlback weaponises the hatred by methodically obliterating your senses with terrorising blastbeats and firestorms of scorched earth riffage that’ll stick in your head for days.

Its concept unleashes a whirlwind of images in one’s mind, of destruction and mayhem, as does its merciless instruments of torture, couple that with flashes of a marching regime of death-minded drones and unstoppable tanks crushing the skulls of the unfortunate and 2 in the am starts to get a little crazy. From second 1 it’s a glorious assault on the body and an indoctrination of war and anti-humanity all played with such ferocity over a backdrop of bleakness. Seeds of hope are scattered throughout the track in form of more melancholic passages only to be ripped up and left to die with a hellstorm of frenzied attacking guitars and pummelling drums blasts. From concept to creation it does its job with pure imperium.

Over 45 minutes it’s easy to get lost in repetition and a track of this length has to keep the listener gripped by the throat throughout. It does just that with endless determination and carries the listener safely through the broken land. It would be easy to simply split the track into several contrasting songs and just splice those together to form a beast, but Obitus have produced an ungodly monster that ebbs and flows savagely, only briefly pausing for more harmonious instrumental interludes until returning to the cold mechanical destruction. It feels like the same track without getting monotonous yet delivers its message with renewed vigour at later segments. Reprising riffs transform into more dissonant and furious assaults harshly ushering in a progression possibly into a more severe kind of hellish humanity all the way to the climatic face-melt of the tracks end.

Slaves of the Vast Machine is a tough one to review, but in a way easy at the same time due to the fact it is one single piece of music to focus on that challenges the listener to do one thing… get through it in one sitting… and it’s a simply done and enthralling task to do. Look, I could blab on for ages about all the nuances, intricacies and this that and what not but there really is only one thing to do… grab yourself a copy of this album and fucking listen to it. You can either raise the white flag and give in or raise the blackened flag of Obitus and one big metal middle finger to the slave drivers of oppression… the way things are going now, this might just be the soundtrack to your future.


Review by:echoesanddust.com

 

Extended play “one song albums” can provide greatness or utter failure depending on the hands involved. Putting all of one’s eggs in a single basket so to speak. Obitus is more likely to fall into greatness than mediocrity thankfully, with a post-black sound that doesn’t carry with it the usual sterility. Slaves of the Vast Machine is hard-hitting and suitably icy black metal that has just enough variety to keep the listener intrigued over the course of the 45-minutes. Lots of frantic speed does relent for some more melodic work, but it never forgets the overall theme/tone. And while there aren’t really any “standout” moments in the album, its consistency and ability to retain and interest the listener more than gives it a thumbs up. Post-black metal with some teeth.

Review by:deadrhetoric.com/

 

Obitus are a Swedish black metal band and this is their second album.

Playing harsh black metal, Slaves of the Vast Machine consists of one long 45 minute track.

The band’s music is made up of progressive, dissonant and post-black metal, resulting in music that’s chaotic, relentless and brimming with icy hatred. This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine.

There’s an apocalyptic intensity to this, one that would be hard to sustain for a song as long as this one if it wasn’t for the fact that Obitus twist, bend and warp this intensity as they proceed to tear through the playing time. With the ability to be brutal or atmospheric, depending on what the section of the song calls for, Obitus are always, dark, always nasty, and always unforgiving. This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine.

Run-of-the-mill black metal fans are likely to be intimidated by this. This is not music that should be approached with a care-free attitude; this is music to approach with caution, to be wary of. This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine.

The band paint pictures of dystopian futures and urban nightmares, where dreams are shattered, humanity lies wasted and there’s no hope except for the expectation of more suffering and hardship. This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine.

Bleak, blackened melodies infect the release like streaks of sustained pain that are ravaging some once-virile lifeform. Draining and siphoning off its energy, the resultant husk is malignant with blackened growths and pain-filled memories of what life used to be like. This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine.

Obitus are powered by hatred and fuelled by the broken lives of those around them. This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine.

This is the sound of Slaves of the Vast Machine; it isn’t pleasant by any means, but it does make for some very good black metal.


Review by:wonderboxmetal.com

 

Like the indoctrinating repetition of hypnopaedia or the self-fulfilling prophecies of unchecked Nietzschean philosophy, black metal can, in its own distinct way, hammer home its ideologies through sheer force. The beauty behind such a method is simple, really, and can be conveyed any number of ways but most often is distilled into succinct yet powerful memes: “The object of power is power,” “God is dead,” or “A love of nature keeps no factories busy.” Considering Obitus’ totalitarian lyrical stance within black metal, all these references convey with lethal accuracy what to expect from the band’s sophomore album, Slaves of the Vast Machine: a bleak and hopeless picture that, like the tyrannical vision of any dystopian dogma, mercilessly inculcates its violent message that only seems more “normal” the longer one is exposed to it.

Indeed, if there were ever a perfect platform for such an undertaking, a single 45-minute, monolithic track would be it, a pattern that follows the band’s 2009 debut, March of the Drones. Unlike that album, however, Obitus has refined its songwriting process to fully accommodate the format rather than form transitions that serve to essentially create individual “tracks.” It’s fitting, in fact, that Obitus has chosen this path, to effectively nullify any sense of individuality of track order and allow the album to stand as one unit (a One State of sorts), with all its components harmonized into a seamless entity.

Although the band claims inspiration from Orson Wells, I can’t help but recall Aldous Huxley as well, perhaps more so than anything else, actually, as the layers of self-indoctrinating repression are abundantly present. Force is indeed the vehicle through which the medium is delivered but the repetition, the subtleties that exist within this incessant framework, speak more of a systemized machine that seeks to forcibly induce you within its fold rather than “vaporize” any dissenters. Even Obitus’ lyrical patterns from their previous album tended to favor the methods of a Huxleyan world, the same repetition one encounters in black metal, the very recurrence of specific words and lines that tend to nip at your subconscious and find a home within your thoughts over due time. Like the haunting melody of the Solidarity Hymn, “It was not the ear that heard the pulsing rhythm, it was the midriff; the wail and clang of those recurring harmonies haunted, not the mind, but the yearning bowels of compassion.”

Considering this, then, it must be said that Obitus’ handle on black metal is decidedly precise and sharp as a razor, despite the lengthy 45-minute runtime. Riffs, like food rations, are not wasted; Obitus has a distinct talent at writing riffs that go the distance, which are all held together by structuring that follows a very simple yet effective format to build anticipation, climax (multiple times), and finally, to end violently, on a frenzied, noticeably faster pace than anywhere else found previously. In this way, yes, it might seem we’ve heard certain themes and riffs somewhere within the track…but did we, really? The swirling brutality that comprises the album is just too menacing and intimidating to feasibly bear, much less recall. So, we take it all in….again.

I can think of many similarly themed bands but none that achieves their vision as coherently as Obitus has. Slaves of the Vast Machine is not only the best track you will hear all year, but one of the best “albums.” Even towards the end, there is no reprieve; perhaps only stressed riffs that are intentionally dissonant at their apex but continue to assault, only to revisit previous themes, to remind you that, yes, the band knows they are too good not to use again. The moment at 42:10, as fleeting as it is, is truly where the end begins, but even at this accelerated flashpoint, is there ever truly an end? Obitus still sounds fresh and energetic as they did at the beginning and another 45 minutes of their constant battering would not seem too out of order. In fact, bring it on, Obitus, but please don’t make us wait another eight years.


Rating: 9.5/10

Review by:www.metal-observer.com

 

Obitus has made it pretty clear what you can expect from their latest album, ‘Slaves of the Vast Machine’: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Capturing an outlook as dour as that and putting it to music may seem like a tall order, but that’s just what Obitus achieves on this 2017 release from Hypnotic Dirge Records.

You’ll find no beauty here. There will be no aching sense of longing, as commonly found in black metal of the atmospheric variety, nor the despairing yet cathartic release of depressive black metal. ‘Slaves of the Vast Machine’ is a mighty and terrible engine fueled by one thing: hate. This misanthropic journey boils and writhes within the confines of a single track, leaving listeners strapped down as if in an insane asylum, with no escape and nothing to do but submit to the emotional flogging delivered by this Swedish black metal duo.

As for the music itself, a part of me worried that the album’s most memorable parts had already been revealed from the two sample clips Obitus had released prior, but I’m pleased to report this is not the case. When the onslaught begins, you won’t have time to even take a breath before you’re suffocating beneath roiling waves of blast beats, riffs, and raw aggression. It’s not all sound and fury, though, as there’s smart songwriting aplenty to keep you in rapt attention, as a single-track album should. Thematic rhythmic patterns are repeated throughout using different dynamics, showing enough variation to always surprise you. Of special note are the guitars, which play off each other in spectacular ways, diverging from alternating tremolo and picked patterns before careening back into each other to create maximum discordance.

Listeners wary of whether a single 45-minute track will maintain their interest or not should take heart – this is one vast machine you’ll willfully enslave yourself to.


Rating: Excellent

Review by:tometal.com

 

As with the first album, Slaves of the Vast Machine consists of 45 minutes of raw and aggressive black metal. But where the debut consisted of seven songs, the music is this time collected into, or rather composed as a single seamless composition. When you learn that the album consists of a single 45 minute long song, your sceptical consciousness might just raise a few critical questions, but once you've start listening, it's a fair chance you'll simply continue at it, through all three quarters of an hour.

Whether the album was initially supposed to contain a single composition, or if the song-writing simply evolved in that direction, is an open question. The track has a natural drive with constant progression, and although this is not common within black metal, it never feels wrong.

Slaves... is my first encounter with the Swedes, and I was quickly spellbound by their intense war machine. I don't know much about the album's concept, but they paint a dystopic scenario in an Orwellian setting. A scenario of all-encompassing denial of personal freedom in a futuristic autocratic world infected with absolute surveillance and full governmental control in a society where citizens cope with unhappiness, misery and nervousness.

The music is completely antagonistic and entirely warlike. Expect no pit stops or breathers. Apart from a few sequences where the pace calms slightly, only constant, ill-natured and and impetuous rush is offered. Marduk would have been a typical reference. Not because of great similarities, but because of aggression, temperament and lack of respect for the speed limit.

For a while during my first listen to the album in its entirety, I feared that boredom would eventually come crawling. Not everyone is able to pull off full throttle for three noninterrupted quarters without gradually emerging as monotonous. Obitus, however, achieve this feat in impeccable manners by providing adequate variation in sharp riffs and striking rhythms. This is authentic black metal, full of rage, disgust and eeriness. The melody lines you can dig out of the ice doesn't qualify for the term melodic, but contributes to an icy malignant mood, and the razor-sharp vocals gives a beneficial contribution to a vicious circle, spiralling straight down to Hell.

Slaves of the Vast Machine is a fierce and fiery display of true Nordic black metal: cutting, biting, odious, uncompromising, profane, violent, intense, hostile and militant.


Rating: 5-/6

Review by:gorger.org

 

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

Gli Obitus sono un duo svedese attivo dall’ormai lontano 2000 e suonante un black metal piuttosto incazzato. Ci occupiamo oggi del loro secondo, ottimo album che porta il nome di Slaves Of The Vast Machine. La prima cosa di cui parlare è la particolare scelta di offrire il platter sotto forma di un’unica traccia, e gli svedesi in questa direzione sono recidivi; potrebbe quindi risultare poco “vendibile” ma, in tempi frenetici alla massima potenza come i nostri, proibire il tasto skip e lasciare un flusso unico si rivela sensato e vincente. La formazione degli Obitus è praticamente identica a quella degli Anaal Nathrakh: Anders suona tutti gli strumenti e a Johan sono affidati tutti i testi e le linee vocali. Il sound è oscuro, distopico, abrasivo e violentissimo; è un disco che odia ciò che è diventato il genere umano, impersonale e schiavo di una macchia più grande di lui stesso. Si parla quindi di distopia e di tutto ciò che ne concerne, concetto che oggi va particolarmente di moda e si avvicina ad una forte inflazione essendo trattato nei più svariati livelli e circoli metallici. Nonostante il suo essere concettualmente trito e ritrito, Slaves Of The Vast Machine è un lavoro grandioso e che sa di black metal d’altri tempi. E’ un disco che sembra uscito dagli anni d’oro del genere, devastante sotto tutti i punti di vista; la cui natura estrema e spietata finirà sicuramente per conquistare ogni amante del genere e non. L’opera seconda degli Obitus dura quarantacinque minuti e non smette di prendere l’ascoltatore a calci per tutta la sua durata; se potesse prenderebbe a calci il vostro lettore cd anche dopo aver esaurito il suo minutaggio. Slaves Of The Vast Machine è una scheggia impazzita costruita su ritmiche serratissime, blast beat assassini e tempi sincopati; è una pratica orgiastica, puro malessere messo in musica in grado di annientare qualsiasi cosa gli si presenti davanti. L’ascolto vi costringe a fuggire da una massa nera che cerca di inglobarvi e risucchiarvi, è la società di oggi che cerca in tutti i modi di appiattire tutto e controllare ogni tipo di emozione; gli Obitus lottano contro la non persona, contro un futuro indefinito e dalle più svariate tonalità di nero. Le chitarre sono tutte poggiate su tremolo picking, dissonanze e arpeggi malsani; sono veramente pochi i momenti di respiro e ancora meno quelli in cui si dà all’ascoltatore modo di rendersi conto di ciò che sta succedendo. Ciò che vogliono rendere gli Obitus è l’implacabilità del totalitarismo, praticamente le parole perfette per descrive la loro opera e come ci si sente ascoltandola. La produzione non è quella delle grandi occasioni ma è semplicemente black metal: sporca, col giusto risalto sugli alti, basso praticamente inesistente e tutto il resto sputato in faccia e votato al massacro. E la voce di Johan? Ormai lo potete dedurre da soli: screaming tra i più violenti in circolazione alternato con uno screaming tra i più violenti in circolazione e che riesce anche ad offrire un po’ di varietà con uno screaming tra i più violenti in circolazione.

Tutto qua? Tutto qua. Non c’è davvero altro da aggiungere e ulteriori parole sarebbero superflue. Slaves Of The Vast Machine è un’opera di musica estrema con la e maiuscola; è un’opera che ha qualcosa da dire anche dove è tutto è già stato detto e tratta il black metal in maniera pericolosa come si faceva una volta. Gli Obitus non suonano in maniera gratuita come molti altri ma vanno dritto al punto, si prefiggono un obiettivo e lo danno all’ascoltatore esattamente come lo descrivono. Quest’opera quindi è per persone estreme ma allo stesso tempo per chi sa riflettere e si preoccupa dell’attuale umanità e del suo prossimo futuro; quest’opera è black metal sposato con raffinata intelligenza, fa bene al genere tutto quanto fa male moralmente ed è portatrice malsana di angoscia. Sicuramente finirà nella top ten estrema di questo 2017, fatela vostra.



Rating: 82/100

Review by:truemetal.it

 

Schaut man sich die Outputs von OBITUS an, gibt es nur ein Wort für die Band und deren Entwicklung: beeindruckend. Im Jahr 2000 setzten die Schweden mit dem Drei-Track-Demo "Coup De Grâce" und dem darauf zelebrierten brutalen, kalten Lo-Fi-Rasanz-Black-Metall ein mehr als markantes Zeichen. Es folgte 2001 die Split "Gather Against Humanity" mit KULT OF AZAZEL, HUMANICIDE und THY LORD, die EP "Stratagema" (2006) und im Jahr 2009 schlug dann die Stunde für das erste (und hochgelobte) Vollalbum "March Of The Drones". Mit jedem neuen Werk haben Anders Ahlbäck (alle Instrumente) und Johan Huldtgren (Gesang) sowohl die Messlatte für Kälte und Brutalität ein Stück höher gelegt als auch musikalisch verfeinert und die magnetische Kraft ihrer Musik verstärkt. Auf "Slaves Of The Vast Machine" stellen sie sich einer neuen Herausforderung und treten mit einem One-Song-Album an.

"Slaves Of The Vast Machine" ist ein fünfundvierzigminütiger Monolith aus peitschenden Gitarren und gewaltigem Schlagwerk. Ein Sperrfeuer industrieller Kälte und Verachtung, in die Unerträglichkeit gesteigert. Hämmernde Wiederholungen, pochende Blasts, Mördergitarren und autoritäre Vokalarbeit heißt die Munition, mal kraftverstärkt, mal geschwindigkeitsbeschleunigt. Nach circa zwanzig Minuten, wenn der Blutdruck längst in behandlungsbedürftige Höhen geputscht ist, lassen OBITUS ein Riff frei, das die Stimmung aufbricht und zugleich verstärkt. Massiv … derb … melancholisch … majestätisch … ein eisiger Triumph … überraschend aus dem Nichts. Nervöser, schneller und gnadenloser treibt die Zermürbungsorgie den Hörer, den Sklaven, danach weiter und weiter und weiter durch dieses horrende Stahlgewitter, aus dem es kein Entkommen gibt. Was für ein Album!


Rating: 10/10

Review by:bleeding4metal.de

 

Everyone with the slightest interest in metal (should) know about the Edge Of Sanity epos Crimson. Released in 1995, it’s a 40+ minutes long single death metal song that goes through bouts of fast riffing and groovy drumming, interwoven with harmonic slow passages with clean singing. It’s an amazingly coherent mix of moods that drives the dystopian backstory forward. The sequel, Crimson II, continues the story, but does so in a much more fragmented way. Crimson II sounds like a score of single riffs, whereas Crimson (1) really sound like one long song recorded live in the studio. With Slaves Of The Vast Machine, Obitus beats the track length of both Crimson albums, and does so without ever letting their metaphorical foot off your face (from the press release, which says: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever”).

From the get-go, SOTVM blasts forth with dissonant tremolo riffing and insanely fast and variegated drumming. The whole image this album conveys is super dark, super bleak, super aggressive. The screamed vocals on top are doing nothing to light up the atmosphere.

Johan Huldtgren (all lyrics & vocals) and Anders Ahlbäck (all music & instruments) started Obitus in Gothenburg in the year 2000. They appeared on a four-sided split in 2001 and released a three track EP in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they released their debut album, March Of The Drones. While the debut is solid and also built as a single unit (though, with seven tracks), SOTVM is its own beast entirely. I really hope that Obitus finds the audience that I know is out there with the release of Slaves Of The Vast Machine. This album coulda-shoulda appeal to anyone into black metal, but also noise, industrial, sludge, even doom (although Obitus are not slow) and anyone who likes music with screamed vocals/growling.

There really are no holds barred on the intensity of this song, but when the screaming leads of the guitar breaks through it’s at its best, and especially in the last five minutes of the song where everything climaxes and then slowly drifts away. But be aware, this song will stay with you even after its closing.


Rating: 4.5/5

Review by:Metalopsy Metal Reviews

 

Cries of being part of the machine have been the fodder of rock and roll for decades. For Pink Floyd it was the conformity stamping music industry that prompted their 1975 classic “Welcome to the Machine.” Hell, even Sebastian Bach lamented “I gotta punch the clock that leads the blind / I’m just another gear in the assembly line-oh no” on Skid Row’s 1991 Slave to the Grind. We’ve all felt that wearing down of the rough edges, whether it’s due to the corporate machine, the political machine…even the family machine. The crushing weight of authoritarianism and idealogical control has been acutely present these last few months, and it’s an oppressive weight Swedish black metal duo Obitus channel with a clinical fury on their latest release, Slaves of the Vast Machine.

Since 2000 Obitus has been the infernal work of Anders Ahlbäck who handles the music composition and instruments and Johan Huldtgren, writer and screamer of misanthropic words. It’s a relationship that, while remaining constant in function has seen a tremendous amount of growth since their demo Coupe de Grâce rumbled forth with a machine-gun mix of lo-fi black metal and weird punk esthetic (check the solo bass in the beginning of “Endless Dark Tormentors”). 2006’s EP Stratagema shows the preoccupation with authority had been there for some time in tunes like “21st Century Terror State,” especially since the resurrected songs were actually written five years previously. But it’s 2009’s March of the Drones where the seeds for Slaves of the Vast Machine are most readily evident. Song lengths begin to stretch out, and Ahlbäck starts to experiment with tempo a little, allowing some space to breathe menace into the opening of “Sacrificial Abolishment.” Gone are the strict blast beat single riff songs, replaced with a labyrinth structure of churning chords and guitar lines, all anchored by a staccato drum machine and the throat shredding roar of Huldtgren. Barring a short split in 2014 the duo had been pretty quiet, but just in time for the harsh solitude of winter comes a massive blot of anger to move 2017 right along.

A single track clocking in at over 45 minutes, Slaves of the Vast Machine starts in a swirling mess of buzzing guitars and screams that threaten to burst into static. There’s precious little breathing room here, and when there is (at 3:40 and 11:00, for example) the room is suffused with despair and hopelessness. You eagerly await the return to the face melting brutality. Riffs slowly morph into other forms, the programmed drums only adding to the cold and clinical machine heart that seeks to demolish any semblance of individuality and hope in the human race. But this is black metal: what need we of hope!? An even better question is how a band manages the trick of composing a 45 minute track that not only works from beginning to end, but does so without resorting to cheats like simply stringing separate songs togethers with filler segues or jarring the listener with abrupt tonal changes. Musical ideas echo each other over the course of the song; 30 minutes in we’re hearing permutations and reflections both musically and lyrically. And the final minute is just as punishing and intent to rip your throat out as the first minute is.

So the question remains: how? How does Obitus keep you in their blackened pocket? How does Slaves of the Vast Machine never wear its welcome out? The answer lies in the entire evolution of the band from that 2000 demo until now. Obitus have found a path they can tread without fear of sinking into tired repetition or cheap gimmicks: at its frozen heart Slaves of the Vast Machine is a unified statement that needed to be exactly as long as it is.


Review by:Nine Circles

 

The Swedish black metal band Obitus have done something remarkable: They’ve made a 45-minute album consisting of a single song that’s on the attack relentlessly, and yet it’s a harrowing thrill-ride straight through to the end.

Now you can either skip straight to the end of this post and start listening to our stream premiere, or you can continue reading, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to do both at the same time — or trying to do anything else while listening to this onslaught. For those who might be interested in more of a preview before you throw yourself into the tornado, I shall continue.

Let’s return to the elephant in the room, the question that many will skeptically ask themselves: How does a band make a 45-minute song that doesn’t cause a listener’s mind to wander, or worse yet, become downright monotonous? And here’s an even more challenging question: How does a band do that without breaking up the album into dramatically contrasting movements, providing passages of reprieve to go along with the inferno, or creating something so droning and trippy that it would appeal only to people high enough that they’d be entranced by the sound of grass growing?

In this case Obitus carry the listener along for 45 minutes through the sheer staggering force of their intensity, though that intensity takes different shapes. To be sure, the music does ebb and flow, but there is no real breathing room, no comfort, no release from the tension, no beauty in this very dark and dystopian nightmare.

At full strength, the music is a firestorm and a hurricane combined. The drumming is obliterating and remorseless, moving at inhuman speed and with a mechanistic, quasi-industrial precision matched only by the immense battering power of its impact. It thunders, jackhammers, and punches with militaristic imperiousness, yet tumbling progressions and other rhythmic variations are introduced that prevent the barrage from becoming exhausting.

In full incineration mode, the riffing is grim, frenzied, and maniacal, but the vocals are no less maniacal. The scorching shrieks and excruciating expulsions of bile and poison are hair-raising in their intensity, and become even more destructive when they’re occasionally combined with voracious death growls. Yet the vocals themselves have a rhythm, and as they repeat the chorus, the voice almost sounds like song.

The rampant destructiveness of these turbocharged passages is somehow both coldly mechanized and wildly blood-lusting at the same time, and a straight 45 minutes of it might be too much to take. But exhaustion doesn’t set in, for at least two reasons. First, as noted earlier, the intensity ebbs as well as flows. The song alternates between full-bore explosiveness and somewhat more subdued minutes in which the drumming slows and the vocals disappear, in which dissonant guitar notes chime and pulse, or trilling melody lines surface to add their own kind of chilling intensity to the song.

Second, as the song unfolds, there are subtle variations in both the hurricane-strength assaults and the somewhat more subdued segments. In the song’s first half, there is one passage in which a vibrant riff appears that conveys a sense of forlorn, aching grief and another in which the melody takes on a lilting quality, even as everything around it is harsh and hostile. And other more subtle changes are introduced almost every time the surge explodes again, or the blast front passes by before the next one arrives.

There is a union in this album, as there was in the band’s first full-length, between the sensations of the sound and the thematic subject matter that animates it. It envisions a totalitarian future not dissimilar to the one described by George Orwell in 1984. The band explicitly quote one famous line from the novel, which I’ve put in boldface below:

“There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

In listening to the song, another quote from 1984 also struck me as relevant to the music’s atmosphere:

“The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything.”

You could think of the music as either an expression of the hate and destructiveness of a totalitarian regime in total control of the people it has turned into slaves, or the agony, desperation, and derangement of the subjugated, bereft of hope and with nothing left to lose except their lives. Or perhaps both experiences are being captured in the song. Either way, the music is utterly bleak, but utterly gripping.


Review by:No Clean Singing

 

Song previews always strike me as something very odd, since I’m no sure what their purpose is. But when I got a 5 minute preview of this, a 45 minute epic black metal song, now that seems to make sense. I was intrigued, wanted to know more. A few days later my review copy came in, and my God, I was not prepared.

First thing I have to say : this is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a full on assault on all senses, and it’s hard to catch your breath even for a second. It’s not boring or repetitive though. It has a lot of fine details to keep you on your toes. But unlike other (post)black metal bands, that allow more room for their songs to breathe, this is more of a relentless assault, stomping you into the ground over and over and over until you can’t see the light anymore. In a good way.

There isn’t much more to say to be honest. This is some crazy black metal, played by 2 Swedish guys. I don’t think they can pull this off live, since it would be a harrowing undertaking, so for now, just enjoy it like this, a 45 minute behemoth that stomps everything in it’s path. If this is a glimpse of what black metal will bring in 2017, we’re in for a hell of a ride boys.


Rating: 90/100

Review by:Totally Biased

 

Post-black has often struck me as expressing a decadent sort of misery, one which is more malaise than malice, an effeminate whimpering against the dying of the light. It seems to cry out to the God it vehemently denies exists and beg for a purpose, painting a bleak sort of hopelessness; a musical version of an off-brand Sartre, if you will. Like Sartre’s Roquentin1, post-black bands create to find a purpose, but they end up stuck in the slime, accepting the hilariously overstated “death” of God and tradition, whining like Nietzsche’s Last Man for the dull pain of a meaningless existence to stop. Obitus, a Swedish band advertised as progressive post-black metal, take a far better approach to the genre on their sophomore record Slaves of the Vast Machine.

Even the most casual listener will immediately spot the differences between Obitus’s take on post-black as compared to the cringe-inducing Deafheaven. Slaves of the Vast Machine is clearly steeped in the Swedish black metal tradition, channeling older bands like Dark Funeral and newer bands like The Legion in their energetic, icy, and often dissonant riffs. The maniacal yet mechanical feel of Rage Nucleaire is present too, and the elements of post-black seem to derive mainly from burlier takes on the genre a la Pestilential Shadows. There’s even a bit of Mayhem’s underrated Grand Declaration of War in the mix, but the focus is on the less avant-garde parts and more on the quick and sterilized riffing.

Now for the interesting bit: Slaves of the Vast Machine is a single forty-five-minute song that is outright unrelenting. The cold and methodical punishment suits the concept well, as the world Obitus are trying to create through their music is one of Orwellian totalitarianism. They succeed, and the music sounds “gray” as all get-out but not monotonous. That said, it’s hard to remember specific parts of Slaves in a “this riff ruled” way. A certain melody about seventeen minutes in sticks out, but that’s largely due to the fleeting glimpses of hope it offers as if to showcase the indomitable human spirit still beating and fighting within the vast machine. After this, the music gives way to melancholy, and Obitus smartly relegates their story’s most vulnerable moment to mere seconds of space; the totalitarian machine drives forward towards “progress” regardless of its subjects’ feelings.

Near the song’s end, Obitus introduces a level of discord into their dystopia that wasn’t heard before. A more sinister version of the almost hopeful riff seems to duel with the dissonant and unrelenting “machine” riffing that populates much of the song, ending with the former fading out and giving way to one final, full-volume scream; it’s an effective and chilling way to end a record. I must say that some parts here are less engaging than others, but something tells me that each listener will find something different to be the most captivating bit here. There’s shockingly little weak material or time-wasters present, which is quite impressive for such a large and ceaselessly intense song.

Slaves of the Vast Machine is cold and metallic in production, using a somewhat obvious drum machine to good effect. It’s not “good” production in the abstract sense, but it suits the music of Obitus perfectly. Having entered the dystopia numerous times, I can safely say that particular parts don’t stick out like in 1984, and the dread and aimlessness isn’t as well captured as it was in a book like Darkness at Noon. Those are high benchmarks, however, and Obitus convincingly create a miserable and compelling place with their music. It’s a great pleasure forced upon the reviewer to step into a world created by an artist, and Obitus have created a near-futuristic dystopia I didn’t want to come back to but felt compelled to anyhow. A rare album where concept and execution flow together in total unison, Slaves is absolutely worth hearing for anyone interested in modern black metal. For those who want to hear in musical form what authors like Karl Popper, F.A. Hayek, and Alexis de Tocqueville (among many others) were so passionately against, Slaves is an exhausting, rewarding, and highly recommended listen.


Rating: 3.5/5

Review by:Angry Metal Guy

 

Allein schon der Opener ist Black Metal par exellance. Brachial, melodiös, eingängig, dunkel, bedrohlich, sprich ein absoluter Hammer. Besonders Johan Huldtgren intensive Kreischvocals und das atmosphärisch unheimlich dichte Riffing von Anders Ahlbäck beschwören hier den ein oder anderen Freuden- bzw. Höllentanz herauf.  OBITUS verbinden sie geschickt die tragenden Elemente zu einem gut funktionierenden Ganzen. Majestätische und gleichzeitig beängstigende Melodien existieren gleichberechtigt neben der Aggression und Gewalt, die Slaves of the Vast Machine auszeichneten. Überhaupt, das ist eine der Stärken der Band, die gemein-verlockenden Keifrefrains hochmelodischer Bauart. Das bestätigen sie nun mal wieder in der ihnen gemäßen Art: hier ein wenig Groove, da ein atmosphärischer Part, dort düstere verführerisch anmutende Gitarrenläufe, dazu die über allen Gitarrenblitzen thronenden Drums, die alles zermalmen, was ihnen in der felsigen Bergschlucht in die Quere kommt, das ergibt  ein stilechtes bombastisches Klanggewitter. Diese Songs ähneln einander durchaus in Aufbau und Melodik, dennoch: es ist wie ein Rausch, Geschwindigkeit, Trance, Verzweiflung, aber auch die  nicht weit davon entfernte Euphorie bestimmen das Hörerlebnis.

Rating: 8/10

Review by:Franconia Metallum

 

Obitus are a band from Sweden that plays a very misanthropic form of black metal and this is a review of their 2017 album "Slaves Of The Vast Machine" which will be released in February as a joint effort between Hypnotic Dirge and Black Plague Records.

A very distorted sound starts off the album before going into a very fast and raw musical direction which also uses a great amount of tremolo picking and blast beats as well as introducing high pitched black metal screams onto the recording and the riffing also brings in a small amount of melody at times.

Deeper vocals can be heard briefly and the only track on this album is over 45 minutes in length and also brings in a great mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts and when guitar solos and leads are utilized they are done in a very dark yet melodic fashion and all of the musical instruments have a very powerful sound to them and the song also sticks to a very heavy sound from beginning to ending of the recording.

Obitus plays a style of black metal that is very fast, raw and misanthropic but done in a more modern style, the production sounds very dark yet heavy at the same time while the lyrics cover misanthropic and anti human themes.

In my opinion Obitus are a very great sounding misanthropic black metal band and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this recording


Rating: 8/10

Review by:Occult Black Metal Zine