They say that appreciation of art is in the eye of the beholder, but I would say, art is anything that stirs something inside you. It could be a positive or negative emotion, but as long as it speaks to you in one way or another, it’s art in my book. This is what I am reminded of when I listen to Hybrid Nightmares latest effort Obelisk.
The storyline format is not lost on me. Story-telling through music is not always done so explicitly, but I realised after listening to the first two tracks that it is an ingenious way to keep a listener focused and interested to hear what comes next. Star Fortress is an exceptionally bleak track that is a fantastic set up to the rest of the release. I can’t remember a track in Hybrid’s catalogue that is so forlorn and fatalistic – it is truly well done. Loki’s vocals are a highlight for me – the coming in and out of a scream vs a low speaking gruff that is quite unique to Australian bark we are used to listening to – it functions as a forewarning to what is to come, adding to the overall desolate feel of the release. The deeper and ‘bassy’ tone of their previous release Almagest has been exchanged for a focus on mid-tones in Obelisk.
Perhaps it’s best not to compare this sort of stuff, but the contrast is so extreme I had to take notice. Does it work? I’m really unsure; bar the solos, I know I’d like to hear the guitars more, but that’s just a personal choice. I feel that as far as modern Australian metal is concerned, Obelisk is essential listening. Suitable for those who would like to see the swift destruction of humanity. All hail the Obelisk.
Release Year: 2019
Reviewed byLiam Frost-Camilleri