Here at Angry Metal Guy, we love Fleshgod Apocalypse. Well, maybe not love… and sometimes not even very much like. It’s a complicated relationship. But one thing we can agree on is that Oracles is kickass. Its sultry fusion of tech-death and neoclassicism was a winning move that everyone, including Fleshgod Apocalypse somehow failed to follow up on properly. But of course, there are those few who malign such progressive elements, and thus ask the question, “What would this band sound like if they just wrote death metal?” To which the answer is, of course, Hour of Penance. Which immediately puts Bloodtruth in a tough spot.
What began as a side-project of Francesco Paoli and Paolo Rossi has now shed both of its Fleshgod-embedded members, and not lost a single beat. The result is a band that sounds just like you’d expect, except worse in every way. Obedience is one of the least interesting, least nuanced, and worst-produced death metal albums in recent memory, saved from superlatives only by the lighter-fluid drenched bag of excrement that is Autokrator.
“Subvenite” warms up up the disappointment stew with a minute of ironically included Gregorian chant, which, unlike saxophone, has never, ever improved a metal album. The following track is the album’s first actual song and it doesn’t fare much better. A mess of half-assed Nile riffs (half-assed Nile riffs are all the rage these days) and insufferable drumming called “Surrounded by Blind Bigots” kicks off the album proper, and while the song alone isn’t offensive, 30 minutes of that same song interspersed with Gregorian chant is. It will eventually dawn on the listener that Bloodtruth want to set themselves apart from other bands by not being fans of the Catholic Church. As you might imagine, an anti-christian identity is second only to a pro-Lovecraft identity in terms of how poorly it differentiates death metal bands. Criticizing Catholicism head on might have been edgy in the ’90s (to be clear, not the 1990s: the 1790s), but in a day and age where the pope is pro-gay and anti-child abuse, it’s not just passé but completely out of season. Which, it turns out, is a good way to describe this album; it feels like it could have been made at any point in the last ten years and it would have still been as tasteless and unremarkable as it is today.
Compounding Obedience‘s tired concept and lackluster writing is the album’s production. Engineered by Francesco Paoli and Cristiano Trionfera, it has all of the trademark badness of Fleshgod Apocalypse: it’s super loud (DR3 across the board save for the opener), sounds glossy and overwrought, and though Bloodtruth names a one Giacomo Torti as their drummer, I honestly don’t think he ever appears on the album. Every single drumbeat has been replaced with some abhorrent facsimile of an actual instrument and every hit of the snare sounds identical, as does every bass drum click. There are about fourteen thousand of each on Obedience, so get used to pain and boredom.
When the album finally comes to a close, the band breaks out a single decent riff – one of the album’s simplest, unsurprisingly, which, equally unsurprisingly, I’m pretty sure was lifted from “Retrieving my Carcass.” Not content to do something right on such a remarkably uniform album, the band plays it to death and uses it to feature those incredibly bad drums, and thus Obedience comes to a dismal close. Obedience is a response to a question no one asked that has already been answered, and suffers in accordance with its less-than-immaculate conception. Everything about it is either boring or bad and it looks like a failure even within its incredibly spotty genre. It is easy to hate, but even easier to overlook, and I suggest you do the latter.