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Obsidian Kingdom - Mantiis CD (album) cover

MANTIIS

Obsidian Kingdom

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Every now and again a band comes across my desk that's just impossible to classify. Whether it is a total disregard for genre labels altogether or just an attempt to blend as many styles together as possible, some albums are tough to pin down to any particular label - Mantiis by Obsidian Kingdom is one such album. Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, this metal collective is rather unknown by most of the community, so I was actually very surprised when I popped Mantiis in for a spin; this is an absolutely stunning album, to put it mildly, and its unique mix of black, prog, post, death, and doom metal makes it one of the year's most unique releases. This band should be discovered by every fan of forward-thinking metal music, and the fact that this release is freely available from Obsidian Kingdom's BandCamp page means that readers should have no excuse for not checking it out.

Prior to the release of this debut full-length release, Obsidian Kingdom put out two EP's that are also freely available, but I have yet to listen to either of them. After hearing Mantiis, though, I'll be sure to make that a priority. This is a concept record of sorts that features fourteen tracks that segue into one 47 minute suite without any breaks inbetween. An ambitious way to record an album, indeed, though this is surely not where most of Obsidian Kingdom's ambition lies. Their musical style is what takes the cake in the originality department, as I hear traces of post rock, black metal, progressive rock, death metal, doom metal, and avant-metal (hell, there's even a trumpet solo at one point!) throughout the entire piece. Mantiis is not an album that switches from onslaughts of blastbeats to psychedelic jam sections without any warning; instead, Obsidian Kingdom mixes all of these vastly different styles into one seamless blend that can only be described as one-of-a-kind. Comparing Obsidian Kingdom to any other band will almost certainly be misleading, but the overwhelmingly dark atmospheres and complicated song structures may bring Opeth, Porcupine Tree, and Enslaved to mind, even if only in a vague sense.

Mantiis really is its own monster, though, so don't be surprised if you've never heard anything like this before. Obsidian Kingdom's excellence also reaches far beyond their unconventional style; from a songwriting standpoint, this observation really is something that holds my attention more than most other releases. The entire album has a dark and foreboding atmosphere that suits a concept record well, and the consistency in terms of atmosphere and composition that Obsidian Kingdom manages to achieve is remarkable considering how eclectic they are. While a good portion of the album is on the heavier side (including heavy riffs, demonic shrieks, and the whole rest of the ordeal), sections where the band decides to chill out and explore their post-rock side are potentially their most powerful. These guys really know how to craft a chilling and beautiful arrangement, and these parts put into the context of a dark and rather gruesome observation makes them all the more moving.

In short, Mantiis is an experimental metal album that has it all; high class musicianship, organic production, ambitious style, captivating atmosphere, and, most importantly of all, stunning composition. Obsidian Kingdom is the sort of revolutionary band that doesn't come around that often anymore, and this debut offering reflects this sentiment. Mantiis is an intense roller coaster ride of the darker side of human emotion, and I'd advise all forward-thinking metal fans to hop aboard.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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