After a seven year split, Brisbane punk-rockers Speedlab made their triumphant return to music with …
Nailed to Obscurity, eh? Hands up who’s heard of them? Ha! A little Metal Dad joke for you there? I’ll see myself out.
In all seriousness, northern German five-piece Nailed to Obscurity probably live a bit too far south. Their sound is rooted in the doomy, pensive, wintry tropes of Swedish doom; rollicking riffs, more e-bows than a Steven Wilson convention, and a touch of shag-carpet and fat mo prog majesty. Black Frost recalls ye olde Opeth, back when Opeth were metal (oh how much fun we had back then), moving into a wholesale dirge Tears of the Eyeless, borrowing a ritualistic, elemental feeling from Agalloch (may they rest peacefully in Mother Earth’s breast, or whatever.)
Raimund Ennenga growls fire when growling, and sings with an aloofness, as if he’s lost to the living. He moves in and out of atmospheric, ever-expanding riffs like a ghost at a feast, similar to “supergroup” Barren Earth. Feardom is 100% floor to ceiling doom riffery with a bit of goth, Type O woe thrown in to the mix. Resonance ups the Sisters of Mercy factor to the absolute limit, casting arcane incantations in some black-clad ethereal mass. Where as Agalloch and Barren Earth hew close to “organic” sounds, NTO are wise to electronics wringing a few more tears out of you. (Not that I cried, or anything, my God.)
If you really miss Opeth, like every metalhead does, and are bummed Agalloch broke up, then Black Frost fills that Mikael Akerfeldt and Haughm sized gap.
The band approach, yet never cross into “run a warm bath darling, so I can slit my wrists in it” territory ala 40 Watt Sun or My Dying Bride. I think that takes a special kind of misanthrope. Instead, they finds a snug corner between the pomp and pride of Primordial and “rock ‘n’ doom” of Sorcerer or Darkest Era to weep into. If that isn’t a niche carved out of an already minuscule niche, I don’t know what is. As for their playstyle, tracks take their time, building tension and releasing over several minutes. If the thought of a five-second pre-roll ad infuriates you, Black Frost is not, nor will ever be, your bag. There is a bigger downside to all this wanton name dropping; it does betray a case of the “done before” a little too often.
If you really miss Opeth, like every metalhead does, and are bummed Agalloch broke up, then Black Frost fills that Mikael Akerfeldt and Haughm sized gap. Definitely one for the lifelong members of Melancholics Anonymous.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Tears of the Eyeless, Resonance, Black Frost
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Daylight Dies, Agalloch, Ye Olde Opeth