Tuesday 12 August 2014

Review: Obsidian FX – 'Illusions Of Darkness'

'Illusions Of Darkness'

It's evident from their double-disc début offering in the form of 'Illusions Of Darkness' that Russian dark electro duo Obsidian FX don't do things in half measures. Inhabiting a world caught between sci-fi soundscapes and club-friendly harsh ebm, R.DarkArt and D.Fox set out to grab peoples attention... before strapping them to an operating table and experimenting on them.

Influences such as Hocico, Psyclon Nine, X-Fusion are very apparent in the choice of scathing lead synth melodies and distorted vocals. But the band add inject a touch of something different with soft but dark instrumentation in places that sound like the should be cleaved from the soundtrack to a 21st century remake of Re-Animator. The intro track 'Sanctorum' as well as the build up to songs such as 'Shadowgame', 'Antithesis', 'Angel Of Blackened Skies' and 'Fill The Void' are particularly fine examples of this balance of sounds. The album does of course come equipped with plenty of balls-to-the-wall dance bait with the likes of 'Where the Bloody Rivers Flow', 'Orbitoclast', 'Sea Of Sorrow' and 'The Ghostsong' keeping things up-tempo and infectious. Although these do seem to be somewhat over-relied on at times.

The second CD is the remix companion to the main album, although it does contain three original tracks in the form of 'In Atlantis', 'Recreation' and 'Twins'. Again the originals are high quality club friendly tracks with a nice twist to them that could easily have sat comfortably alongside the thirteen tracks on the first album.

The remixes provide an added sense of experimentalism with acts such as VProjekt, The Luna Theory, and Ruinizer, eschewing the traditional route of making already strong club tracks into... stronger, clubbier tracks... and instead opting for more original re-workings.

This is a hefty and strong début from the Russian duo. There is probably still a bit of fat to be trimmed and it would be nice to hear them get even more experimental to really make them stand-out from the crowd. But this is a well written, recorded and produced album that may just surprise a few people. Hopefully they'll continue to progress and refine their sound into something unique on future releases.

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