Obsidian Shell – Evershade
As ever, I’m always looking for new bands to listen to, especially of the female-fronted power/Gothic metal persuasion. When Obsidian Shell, who hail from Hungary, came to me via the magic of the interwebs, I was more than happy to give them a listen. Evershade, their 2011 release and follow-up to 2010’s Angelic Asylum, came out over the summer, and after several listens, I think this is a band worth watching out for. Maybe.
I have to say, the first listen to Evershade didn’t elicit a very positive response from me. I thought it was pretty meh. But, because I don’t like to review something after only one listen (unless its absolutely horrible), I gave them a second, more focused listen, and I suddenly found myself changing my tune. After the third and fourth listen, I became more and more impressed, and thus decided that this is a band watching out for. Maybe.
I’ll get to these maybes in a moment.
First, the music. You’ll be forgiven if the first track on Evershade, “Mirror”, doesn’t grab you. Though it has a good intro, it’s not the best introduction to the band overall. The song is a bit stock and bland, but the second song, “Season of Light” is where things start picking up. It’s a fast song with a good hook and some some good keyboard work. Things continue to go well; “Hidden” has a lovely violin melody accompanying with some fast guitar work and “Die With Me”, one of the highlights of the CD, which is by far the hookiest song on the album. Of the 9 tracks, the final one, “Misanthropia 3” (there are two other installments on previous releases) also stands out, not only because it’s over 9 minutes long, but because it’s a great, solid song, with a lot going on in it. It really shows off, with its progressiveness, a complexity this young band has that seems to come out of the blue after the previous 8 tracks, which are pretty straightforward in terms of structure.
Despite being solid and definitely metal, Obsidian Shell’s style on this album doesn’t seem particularly aggressive, even though there is the token growl at the beginning of “Misanthropia 3” to kind of give them the appearance of some edge. In fact, there are some more “poppy” elements, like the too-sweet vocals of Alexandra and some electronic sounds that, combined with the great hooks in songs like “Die With Me”, kind of reminded me of some of the pop I used to listen to in the 80s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it just may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
As for the “maybes”, well, despite this being a strong effort on the part of the band, it appears that Obsidian Shell, in August, a month after Evershade was released, went through a major human resources shuffle: Alexandra the singer and Gergő the bassist left the band, according to an announcement at the beginning of this YouTube video of “Summoner of the Wind.” No details are given, but I can’t help but wonder how this will affect Obsidian Shell. The departure of their lead vocalist might be a good thing; as I said, her voice is very sweet and is almost too much so for the genre. It’s not a mature voice, or even a particularly spectacular one. It did the job, but that’s about it, and it was one of the weaker elements of the CD, along with some of the electronic stuff I was mentioning before.
If you like lighter, hookier metal, like Delain, for instance (whom I love), you will probably find a lot to like about Evershade. I have yet to listen to any of their other songs apart from “Summoner of the Wind” but I will definitely do that now. Once they get their kinks worked out, they could be a very promising band.
Allyson’s Rating: 3.25 out of 5