Obtest - Gyvybës Medis
Osmose Productions
Pagan Metal
9 songs (43:08)
Release year: 2008
Obtest, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

Hailing from Lithuania, this five-piece started out as an old-school Black Metal band before moving towards a Pagan style, ending up playing a Thrashy form of slightly Blackened Folk Metal. It’s hard to think of a band that Obtest is genuinely similar to. It mostly lacks the party atmosphere of Korpiklaani and Finntroll, and the over-the-top epic blast of Turisas. There are touches of Enslaved at its speediest, and even Amon Amarth, but overall Obtest plays its own style.

Gyvybës Medis (meaning ‘tree of life’) will appeal to fans from all over the Metallic spectrum, as it’s full of melodic riffing and soloing. Vocalist Baalberith yells rather than screams, and although there is an atmospheric element to much of Obtest’s sound overall it’s more ‘epic Pagan warrior’ than ‘kvlt dweller of the forest’. The aforementioned soloing is often set over the top of more ambient background riffing, and the overall effect is something like Drudkh playing Iron Maiden covers. This twin-guitar attack of Evaldas and Enrikas is highly enjoyable and is what most people will keep coming back for – there are no acoustic interludes or spoken word intros, this is pure Metal goodness all the way through.

Being honest, there’s little more that can be said. Obtest clearly loves the steel as much as any of us do, and from the first few widdles of opening track Rites you’ll be enthralled. It’ll take a couple of listens before the songs really give their full catchy impact, but there’s more than enough to keep you listening in the meantime. Songs are uniformly excellent, the production is perfection itself, the musicians are on fire – I can’t fault it. Well worth hunting down, this is in the running for Album of The Year, and will probably rank highly in my list at the end of 2008. For the moment, it’s definitely the best thing I’ve heard this month – recommended to everyone.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 88 / 100
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