The now defunct underground Texan phenomenon BROWN JENKINS was the brainchild of the mysterious Umesh Amtey. With a name taken from Lovecraft, and song-titles like "Ashes In Her Mouth", you'd be hard-pressed to find a darker brand of riff-based Black Metal. After shelving the project in 2008, "Death Obsession" stands as a posthumous echo of its dying breath.
First things first, the riffs and melodies on "Death Obsession" are like staring into the deepest blackest abyss, yet still incredibly catchy. The album is void of any excessive fluff, no samples, no keyboards, just riff upon dreadfully distorted riff. The entire thing flows by without much deviation from this charred contour, to the degree where the album could just as well have been released as one long track. That doesn't mean BROWN JENKINS takes the path of endless repetition, this beast is a constantly transforming and mutating entity within its own bounds. In the true spirit of Lovecraft, this is the musical equivalent of an all-consuming nightmare that keeps pulling you deeper down the more of an effort you make to crawl out.
The only weak spot on this terrifying abomination are the vocals, which come as hoarse bellowing from the deep. Considering the context of the music, you'd think such low-pitched snarls would fit right in, but instead they come off as limp compared to the otherwise intense blackness. More powerful growls might have given "Death Obsession" an extra twisted dimension, yet this is a minor complaint. As a whole, the album stands more as an instrumental piece with the occasional deep-sea sonic emission from some unknown terror.
When listening to this slice of blackness, be sure to take the entire journey in one sitting, since a couple of select songs simply won't do the album justice. Though BROWN JENKINS exists no more, "Death Obsession" will stand as a terrifying monument for the most dedicated acolytes.
(Online May 25, 2010)