OBELYSKKH "The Ultimate Grace of God"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Now here is a name I haven't heard in a good while! The German sludge lords make an unexpected return and "The Ultimate Grace of God" shows that their creative juices are flowing full force. This is a very diverse and even experimental album where doom and sludge riffs form a strong foundation, but on top of that foundation is all manner of musical adventurism.

This is a very restless band. "Aquaveil" tosses meaty portions of thick and swampy ELECTRIC WIZARD style riffing at us, but there are also some strange rhythms and odd side alleys taken...hazier, less crushing passages. The title track, lasting over 14 minutes, really brings the twists and turns, including some spots with a real 60's sounding psychedelic melody and an almost happy sounding bass driven jig. OBELYSKKH demand a lot of attention and are never content to just pound a simple riff into the ground, although those are never far from view.

Sometimes their wandering gets the best of them. The sixteen minute plus ending track "Sat Nam" (Vision) has odd sounding mantra-like chants and a REAL prolonged stretch of complete drone that ends in massive sounding organ and a peaceful exit. A bit much. In contrast, "Dog Faced Gods" is a nervous, choppy sounding epic with almost VOI VOD-ian structures and electronics....not much doom or sludge at all in this one.

Somehow "progressive" is a term reserved for a certain kind of technical, noodling music. But real progressive music is something that pushes boundaries and tests the tried and true and challenges the listener. That describes OBELYSKKH to a T.