Obake’s self-titled debut is a worthy soundtrack to finishing off a nightcap on such evenings when you’re expecting some gnarly spectral giant to visit mid-dream and inform you in disembodied tones of some uncomfortable truths, or deliver a prophecy on your soon-to-be-doomed future. Sure, when the opening riff to “Human Genome Project” kicks in, Obake sound kinda like regulation issue doom, but over the course of ten tracks their sound mutates, twists in and out of form: if it’s still ostensibly metal that’s dominating, it’s metal that’s cloaked in Patton-esque weirdness.
But then, the personnel involved with Obake were never going to deliver just straight-up riffs without throwing avant-curveballs and weaving in weird, noir-jazz atmospheres to embellish the nightmare.
Obake were put together by bassist Massimo Pupillo of Italian math/noise trio Zu, guitarist/composer/producer Eraldo Bernocchi, vocalist Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari and Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi. Their collective collaborations have included Justin Broadrick, James Plotkin, Thurston Moore, Merzbow… In the ’90s, Bernocchi scored Academy Award-winning director Gabriele Salvatores’ Denti, which makes perfect sense when he goes easy on the guitar, allows room for Fornasari’s vocal chords morph from Attilla Csihar growl into a haunting, operatic cadence and sends you off into some cine-triggered somnabulant trip.
Obake take their name from preternatural Japanese folklore, an Obake being a shapeshifting ghost, or rather transmogrifying beast or spirit (they aren’t, like, properly dead), which is all a handy conceit for a band who excuses themselves from any particular genre. Pupillo’s experimental electronica and Fornasari’s vocals make Obake sound more filmscore than metal album but the Lynchian atmosphere is chilling enough to catch the ear of all those who habitually sink their spirits with doom and drone.