In 2015, Minnesota’s Obsequiae released one of the greatest black metal albums of the last 10 years: Aria of Vernal Tombs. This established the band as a vital voice in the underground. Their style is raw, yet almost soothing in its immersive power. The combination of reverb-heavy vocals, melodic riffs and dynamic song structures paints a dazzling picture. As you gaze at the musical canvas, you feel yourself feasting at the great hall with Beowulf or walking with the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
This may sound a little cheesy and pretentious. But a dedicated listen shows Obsequiae’s ability to use epic themes without being silly. In other words, it doesn’t feel like you’re at a Renaissance Fair (featuring Americans with bad tattoos and even worse English accents). Perhaps their most important artistic aspect is that when you hear them: you know it’s Obsequiae. Sure, you can hear a beat of Summoning here, a note of Sacramentum there, but none of Obsequiae’s tunes sound derivative.
On November 22, the band will return to grace us with The Palms of Sorrowed Kings, via 20 Buck Spin. Man, it’s going to be tough for that label to follow 2019. So far, the band has released the instrumental opening track and the excellent “Ceres in Emerald Streams.” I got in touch with Tanner Anderson, who handles the guitars, vocals and bass, to learn more about where the band is coming from:
The song, “Ceres in Emerald Streams,” recalls the myth of Ceres and the search for her daughter, Proserpina, who arrives in Spring to restore the Earth. This story allows us to contemplate mystery, loss and change. Since the beginning, we have attempted to create an immersive musical experience which arouses the imagination and curiosity of the listener. Because of that, it is important for us to not impose any singular meaning. It is our hope that listeners will connect in their own unique ways and find their own personal meanings. Our inspiration is unchanged since our inception: it is in the wells beneath this world.
“An immersive musical experience which arouses the imagination and curiosity of the listener” is probably the best definition of “good metal” that’s out there. To that end, you can pre-order The Palms of Sorrowed Kings here.