Obsidian Tide - Pillars of Creation

Obsidian Tide Pillars of Creation cover
Obsidian Tide
Pillars of Creation
Independent Release
Obsidian Tide is a trio from Israel. Hmm… Israel, not exactly a hot bed for heavy metal, although many Jewish rockers have found fame and even fortune Stateside, but when it comes to the actual number of bands coming out of Israel, it doesn’t even begin to compare with other places. Yet, the thing is that a great number of Israeli bands are actually very good. Maybe the scarcity doesn’t allow the existence of as many duds as in other “scenes”.
Obsidian Tide is going it alone, having previously released an EP and now coming out with a proper full-length. Their style is a weird amalgam of influences, but it takes the persistent repetitive riffing of say Tool, and mixes it with an Opeth element (that includes extreme, death metal vocals, as well as cool, timid, clean ones) and also has the cool of technical bands like Cynic and Atheist, despite being a trio. Obviously their Middle Eastern origin gifts the music with frequent use of scales and sounds related with the greater area… making them sound like an exotic mix of spiced up prog death that’s not afraid to often lose its fanged vocals for something more conventional and include instruments that are unconventional for the genre.
The title track that opens the album is quite extraordinary as it manages to sound both calm and gutturally stirring, with one foot in the east and one in the west when it comes to it influences.
“Seven” that follows feels like “FI” tool at first, even though that album wasn’t released but recently, but soon goes largely death metal at least vocally, while maintaining its Tool-ip tribalisms.
Then around the third minutes Danielle Sassis’ flute conjures a very 70s flavored break, before it retraces it steps backwards to its grungy death-like portions and then into an instrumental closure.
“King of a New Realm has a beautiful violin intro courtesy of Yuval Gur, who also makes his presence felt on the opener and “Hireath” as well, that quickly flows into a smooth vocal, which then rather abruptly is cut by a rather high energy trio interplay that’s followed by growly vox. It also finishes after four or so minutes, but not really as a beautiful “coda” is tucked at its end that feels like it’s finished, before it breaks into some manic and highly dramatic piano movements as the talented Nitzan Habler does his thing. Then when you thought it was all over, the band decides to drum up a dramatic part and just reintroduce the track it sort of left in limbo some four minute previously. I mean… this is reminiscent of shit that bands like East of Eden or Dr Z would do on occasion. Just great!
“Portent of Betrayal” is interesting in how it’s a highly prog number, with mostly growly vocals, but has a small clean portion of vocals towards the end… they manage to keep you guessing what will happen next and that dynamic as well as their ability to write some easy to digest parts and incorporate them harmoniously in their organized chaos makes em quite endearing. Also it would be a shame not to mention its excellent solo.
“Hireath” is segued into, almost seamlessly and is a little more laid back more ambient and twice as long, but still features a majority of growly performances with some clean ones in the middle, offering a different flavor.
“The Harbinger and the Millennial Vengeance” tries to mix up things by just rearranging things and relying mostly on clean vocals and some neat guitar lines, yet this is a point where the album seems to have sort of run out of “tricks” and not even Mike LePond’s (Symphony X) bass lines seem able to do much about that. It’s still a composition that is interesting on its own, but its merits are somewhat diminished in the flow of the album.
Last but not least, comes “Magnanimous”, a track that starts smoothly goes deadly, then 70s prog, then all of the sudden decides to bring Omri Abramov and his sax out after an accomplished solo, because why not. Take that Ghost! And I just found out that their bassist and vocalist is called Sachar Bieber… I mean, I am a Belieber! :D Hands down!
Seriously though, for this bunch of youthful looking chaps to come up with something this interesting is just great… at a point where most of the relevant bands are just regurgitating old ideas and coming up with mostly uninteresting releases, these fellows feel like a breath of hot fresh air from the Levant… which is most welcome! Worth more than a listen, if you found the latest Opeth rather trite and you felt an itch for their earlier not so-sophisticated, era. Looking forward to hearing more from them and seeing how they mature in the future.