Dark, murderous, blood-soaked dolls get to me! I can’t really explain it, to most they’re ugly I guess, but I can’t help seeing something beautiful in their glassy eyes and I just want to collect and keep them all, like my own little tiny prisoners. Seeing the doll adorned cover of the second full length release by Polish band Obscure Sphinx, literally had me scrambling to pick up Void Mother WITHOUT having heard even an utterance of what to expect. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut and the demented album art. I’ve since discovered that Obscure Sphinx play a kind of tasty, female-fronted post-metal that reminds me of an intensified mixture of Tool‘s 10000 Days in texture and aggression and Melencolia Estatica‘s Hell in atmospheric evolution.
Their sonic journey begins with “Lunar Caustic.”This opening track immediately carries me right back to the echoing bowls of Metropolis and the smoky machines powering all of wealth. The track perfectly follows what one expects from a post-metal offering being bass heavy, packed with distortion, rich with atmospherics and offering moments of absolute minimalism that evolve to a dramatic climaxing crescendo. I’m not one for female fronted bands and I can probably count on one hand those that impressed me. That said, Wielebna has an awe inspiring set of pipes! She goes from blissful clean singing in the early few minutes of “Waiting For The Bodies Down The River Floating” to delivering the shrieked messages of the underworld as only a banshee can. In stark contrast to her screams in “Waiting For The Bodies Down The River Floating” and “Nasciturus” Wielebna mirrors these with bassy growls worthy of her male counterparts, and it was only around “Nasciturus” that I realized that this Queen of the Damned is the sole contributor on the vocal front. Color me impressed!
Void Mother is packed to the hilt with odd and interesting drum lines. “Feverish” and “Decimation” open up with Werbel beating out a slow kind of march that steals centre stage. Moving on from “Feverish” into “Nasciturus” and beyond into “The Presence Of Goddess” and before you know it, you’re pulled into a sick and twisted, bastardised underworld where the guitars and drums share the percussive duties. Yony and Olo (guitars) and Blady (bass) handle the distortion and heaviness and their playing on tracks like “Lunar Caustic” adds a level of chugging, thick, gloominess that leaves you feeling nearly strangled. The repetition and stop-start elements that Yony and Olo favor in tracks like “Decimation” and “Nasciturus” reminds me of All Else Fails and sharply contrasts the stark In Mourning “Celestial Tear” feel of “Meredith”.
Mix and mastering took place at Sounds Great Promotion Studio by Kuba Mańkowski who’se worked with the likes of Behemoth, Access Denied, Blindead, Broken Betty, Ethelyn and Noye. The production on the album is thick and fuzzy, but at the same time Kuba’s attention to detail brings each stream to the fore. Based on what I’ve heard in Void Mother, I’ll be hunting down Obscure Sphinx‘s earlier full-length release – Anaesthetic Inhalation Ritual. You’d be remiss in not checking out Void Mother‘s 67 minutes of pure magic!
Tracks to check: “Waiting For The Bodies Down The River Floating,” “Nasciturus,” “Decimation ” and “The Presence Of Goddess”