|4.2 (3 votes):|
An axe both blunt and razor-sharp…
Austria has a lot more to offer than I had expected when it comes to variety in metal. Until just last year, I had been more or less neglecting my home country for a lack of a coherent scene on the surface, but after getting and taking the chances to dig deeper – I do stand corrected.
Obsidian Chamber is one of these new excavations, combining elements of modern, groovy heavy metal with big orchestrations, folky splashes, and extreme metal flair, offered in a pompous production that is both crystals clear and packs the necessary punch to make this mixture work. Garnished with the poetic, yet gruesome tales of wood-chopping madmen and other freaks, you could be in for a treat.
Frankly speaking, I probably would have chosen a different opening track because “Winteralm” does make you wonder whether choosing a drunk Till Lindemann (Rammstein) to yell on top of orchestra-packed big groove riffs is the way to go. It takes this track more than three and a half minutes to reach a satisfying climax, as Markus Schlögl’s vocals actually start showing their own identity towards the end and the amped-up aggression does wonders for its diversity.
Then right after this one, the whole EP becomes a noticeably stronger affair, as the songwriting tightens up and the Lindemann impersonations slowly lose their grip while the compositions take a step up both in complexity and flair. The title track fluctuates between symphonic groove metal and melodic death metal seamlessly, with sweet lead guitar and vocal harmonies popping up at the right moments. “Engelmacher” uses a similar toolbox with a few more ambient moments that enhance the atmospheric traits, almost crossing the line into cartoon-ish territory with the loud/quiet/loud diversions, but it’s “Alchemia” that takes the cake for the most satisfying and extreme cut on Holzphäller as this one grabs you tight – kinda like Alex Krull of Atrocity plunged into the studio with guitar and mic in hand to spit some extra spice onto this EP; the Willenskraft and the Okkult-trilogy influences are strong with this one.
Ending the EP with a cover of Alice Cooper‘s “Poison” could be called a bold move but since Obsidian Chamber do certainly emboss a range of influences into their craft, this version of the radio hard rock hit does indeed work quite well as a melting pot of 80s sleaze and Cradle of Filth memorabilia.
I hope you are bursting with curiosity by now because that’s exactly what Holzphäller is about – music for those looking for metal that doesn’t feel at home in just one or two tight categories. You do want a quick fix that is both catchy and extreme, dead-serious and borderline ridiculous at the same time, with a decent quality standard to boot? Look no further, just don’t get discouraged by the less-than-stellar opening track.
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