Shrapnel Storm – Silo25th December 2023
Gendo Ikari – Rokubungi27th December 2023
Label: Self released / Release date: 1st February 2023
Due to the slow and not so timely postal service from either Czech Republic or Denmark, Michal (bass) from Oblivium Regnum (lat. Lost Kingdom) had to send me this CD twice in order to reach here before the new year’s eve. What we have here then? Oblivium Regnum is a five-piece combo hailing from Prague, Czech Republic. Apart from Michal on the bass, the band also consists of Tomáš (vocals), Luboš (guitar), Slávek (drums) and Ervin (guitar). The band is formed in 2017 on the ashes of a band called Depressive Reality. As stated on the press sheet, an integral part of the Oblivium Regnum project is also the participation of highly skilled guest musicians performing in individual songs. The list of guest musicians is including; Daniela (The Rays of the Sun), Nekro (Dysangelium), Michal Filipi (Fleshless), Frank Šerák (ex-Fleshless / Garbage Disposal), Libor Cihak (ex-In The Shadows / Your Delusion) and the Cantabundas church choir.
Zrádce is their latest EP, containing four tracks of traditional death metal, mixed with elements of doom, folk and black metal. Refreshingly, the band’s vocalist Tomáš sings in their native Czech language and it helps adding further depth to their already a bit complex compositions. Even the lyrics are very ambitious where they take the reign of the Premyslid dynasty (a period in the 9th Century which saw the Kingdom of Bohemia on the ascent, dwarfing much of Eastern & Central Europe) as the main subject on this EP. Quite fascinating, since I never before came across a band that has taken this theme from their history (probably the most famous era of Czech history?!) and take it for further examination.
Now a few words on this EP itself; Zrádce opens with a track called “Břetislav A Jitka” (Bretislav and Judita). To be honest with you, I’ve expected full throttle speedy death metal attack, but I got surprised when I heard the classical style opening, with the aforementioned choirs of Cantabundus. In other words; it’s an epic opening, but with drops of traditional death metal. The overall atmosphere is well-crafted, which is always a nice thing supporting the lyrics and instruments. Unfortunately I can not say the same thing for the production, this time being weak in some places. On the contrary, one could claim that Zrádce and this particular song “Bretislav A Jitka” captures the essence of being a musician, of creating art in its purest impulsive state, without worrying about polishing the edges of making it perfect. That is the addictive charm of Zrádce in general. Next song is the self-titled “Zrádce” (The Traitor) which starts off with the doom-laden intro, reminiscent of early Paradise Lost. Again choral sounds are also present towards the end of this track. These choral sounds serve as a bridge between the four songs, making it more cohesive and more approachable. Thus, also the ending of “Zrádce”sugues nicely and smoothly into the more dark and death metal assault which can be heard on “Homborg”. Despite of the melodic lead work by Frank Šerák (guitars), “Hamborg” is the most aggressive and brutal offering on this EP, supported by this almost cinematic and old-school atmosphere. Final track, “Poslední Bitva” (The Last Battle) opens with a brief melodic refrain, before the churning riffs takes over. It’s rather a tragic song, as the evil era in Bohemia begun, that’s the main reason for this song to have a stronger doom influence. Production of this track is much better here, as it provides a nice listening experience.
Having in mind this is only the debut four track EP by Oblivium Regnum, I think they’ve released a impressive debut, and I definitely hope further history lessons will come in the near future. Make no mistake, Zrádce is for all those that like their metal vicious, extreme and brutal, but at the same time beautiful and epic. Esp. recommended for those interested in history, especially a Middle Age history in Europe.
For more info go to https://bandzone.cz/obliviumregnum or https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063691537748