Extreme progressive metal, now there's a genre I can get behind. The latest top notch release from Season of Mist, Obsidian Kingdom have put out something truly special with Mantiis. There is a very profound beauty to this record that speaks to the soul. See, Obsidian Kingdom aren't creating the wanky and dull prog that you might be used too, this is a band who fuse genres and ideas willy nilly creating exciting new sonic templates. There is a certain triumphant magic to this release, it shows the power of the band not just as songwriters, but as pure artists.
I think a large part of the appeal of Mantiis for me is the use of dynamics. Not a lot of extreme records really shift up and down, yet that seems to be all Mantiis do. The contrast between dark and light, jazzy and brutal is magical. Yet there is something distinctly Obsidian Kingdom about all of the songs. That's what allows what are essentially smooth jazz songs like Last of the Light to slot in nicely next to pieces such as Awake Until Dawn which features heavy riffing and stunning growls. Their is a beautiful sense of mystery to Obsidian Kingdom's music that makes Mantiis worth spinning again and again.
In short, if you want the kind of powerful sonic experience that can only be delivered by top notch musicians performing at the peak of their abilities, this might be the album for you. A wondrous mix of dark and light, joy and sorrow, this is the sort of thing that helps us come to terms with our own humanity. Such is the power of the sonic landscapes that Obsidian Kingdom craft. I love delving into the mysterious world of this record and I get the impression that next time I poke my head down the rabbit hole, I might not be able to find my way back out.
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