At one time when a funeral cortège crawled along the street, folk would stop what they were doing and bow their heads until the procession had passed. Nowadays of course, people couldn't care less. If “Transcending Mundane Obstacles” was playing on the hearse's stereo however, I suspect that one and all would be compelled to show due respect.
OBSCURE ANACHRONISM can be summed up in two words: sombre and dignified. This album deathmarches along without fuss or pretension, the only sign of its passage being the grey clouds that gather in its wake. Bleak as it may be, this Black Metal doesn't quite drop into the depths of the suicidal though it will leach away any joy within listening distance. Despite the wretched atmosphere, the music here does not bleat away all “Woe is me,” it is in fact quite emphatically crying out “Oh woe is you.” Songs of your's and everyone else's demise await.
Determined progress is made on each of these four lengthy tracks but not on the back of some hellborn wing'ed beast, the pace is mostly carried by a black panther, it stalks predominantly, its purpose clear and muscles tensed for the dash when the goal is in sight. The contempt on display also has an authentic air about it, the fact that there is little in the way of machine-gunned spite prevents the message being left behind in the rush. The guitar has a tone that hooks itself into your head, it's a dirge but it has a smouldering warmth to it, like a peat fire slowly burning under a heathered moor, just waiting to be unearthed so that it can burst into flame. Simple melodies flow forth, unhurried and all the more effective for it, sometimes they build to the point where you think they are going to let rip but the gravitas always holds them back.
Whilst the first three tracks are far from sprightly, they do benefit from a mid paced flurry every now and then, assisted by the drums that add in some rapid double bass that breaks from the staple sedate punctuation beaten elsewhere. “Entfremdung/Alienation” however slows proceedings down further as it drifts along as a lament, dragged down by the blackened, heavy beauty it unwittingly conveys. More than anywhere else on the album, here melancholy drips like condensate from the mossy beards of a misted forest, the guitar glides mournfully above the other instrumentation and for a while picks its solitary way alone with its thoughts. Towards the end, presumably where “Alienation” takes over, the density increases and something approaching stomp is introduced. There is also a brief spoken word section which differs from the mainstay vocals that elsewhere beset you with a mix of despair, hate and indifference as to your existence, the snarled screech a cry of frustration against humanity.
“Transcending Mundane Obstacles” demonstrates that the delivering of a message can be more effective with a degree of subtlety, you don't need to strap it to a missile and press “fire.” These songs segue into your conciousness before you know it and once there, remain. For when you want it to rain on your parade.
(Online September 30, 2007)