No Deadpan Here
Like other doom metal records, Obelyskkh’s newest offering Hymn to Pan plods, wandering from track to track and offers only a smidgen of variation across its 70-minute run time. Perhaps the album’s most appealing trait is the way listeners can lose themselves in its elongated time frame. But when coupled with guitar riffs that sound like a pile of fuzz and vocals rife with a German accent, the music surely isn’t for everyone. It calls for a particular kind of listener.
Thankfully, Hymn to Pan isn’t all that bad. In reality, complaints are relatively minor, and the clean guitar-oriented introductions are a breath of fresh air in comparison to other modern doom metal stalwarts like Pallbearer. While many contemporary bands focus on trudging pace and heavy riffs—essentially form over function—Obelyskkh concentrates on atmosphere, creating a combination of vocals and music crucial for a well-rounded package.
Although Hymn to Pan isn’t as experimental as it could be—which could turn off a few folks— Obelyskkh make up for playing it safe with excellent songwriting. Countless doom acts roll on and on, lacking a coherent product. But that isn’t the case with Hymn to Pan. Though the closer, “Revelation: The Will to Nothingness,” lasts 23 minutes, the journey couldn’t be more involved, which is a hallmark of Obelyskkh’s music and a track to immerse oneself in, just as the band intended.
“Revelation: The Will to Nothingness” is impressive on its own, but the song is bolstered by the surrounding roster, which tends to show the track up. “The Man Within” kicks off with an excellent spoken intro, evocative of a wild ride ahead, while “Heavens Architrave” pulses with its distortionless intro. Even as the ideas from song to song appear very similar at the surface, the arrangement is what makes the music stand out and makes a compelling case to keep revisiting the album.
In short, Hymn to Pan is a great record. No, it isn’t perfect, but the execution is solid, and the end product is worthy of many listens past the initial spin. It’s definitely one to add to the collection.