Roel de Haan : In 2012 the Spanish group Obsidian Kingdom surprised very much with their excellent debut album ‘Mantiis – An Agony In Fourteen Bites’. A completely original and well written progressive black metal album so mature and accomplished, whatever would come next was destined to fulfil huge expectations. Perhaps it is because of this that Obsidian Kingdom decided to change their approach on this follow-up ‘A Year Without Summer’. ‘Mantiis’ was diverse and sprawling, but in the end guitars determined the feel of the album.
On ‘A Year Without Summer’ the emphasis has shifted towards more electronic and avantgarde elements. For instance, a song like ‘April 10th’ could have easily been an Ulver track, it has even Garm doing a spoken word part! However, there is still enough distorted guitar present to appeal to metal fans, but the overall vibe of the album isn’t very metal. This doesn’t mean it is bad, just different. Obsidian Kingdom’s vocal approach is different as well. Gone are the screams. The vocals now are quite reminiscent of Manes and albeit less theatrical, still it took me some adjusting. Like the whole album and change in style took me quite awhile to appreciate. The album seems to convey a feeling of disenchantment and resignation. In this way ‘A Year Without Summer’ is even heavier than ‘Mantiis’ was. Emotional, engaging and simultaneously bewildering, amazing and dark, ‘A Year Without Summer’ is not easily digested, but is a rewarding effort to undertake.