Sky Shadow Obelisk is an experimental doom project from the mind of Rhode Island multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer Peter Scartabello. On this self-titled EP and debut release, Scartabello applies his classical training to two tracks totaling over 26 minutes, mixing funeral doom, avant-garde, spoken word, and smatterings of other styles.
The song “Sky Shadow Obelisk” is a monster of minimalist and oppressively forceful funeral doom. Minimalist because it foregoes the keys and melancholic lead guitar that many bands within the style employ, stripping down to just the heavy percussion (the ride cymbal sounds like the ticking of winding-down oblivion) and very heavy, punctuated guitar riffs. Oppressively forceful because the song itself seems reluctant to keep going at times. Scartabello’s vocals are somewhat inconsistent, but luckily his deep death growls, which would be at home anywhere in the genre, are more common than the occasional ill-suited yells. However, this small flaw does little harm to this well written and very well produced song which simultaneously evokes atmosphere and claustrophobia.
Unfortunately, “Ex Oblivione” continues neither the title track’s style nor quality. Dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft, the song is an odd stylistic mix that fails to garner attention until very late, getting to the doom finally at the 12 minute mark. Starting with a strange dissonant rock intro, the song mostly consists of an overlong crescendo that includes long sections of spoken word poetry. While the artistic intent is undoubtedly honest, the results fail to urge repeated listens.
I am curious to see if Scartabello writes a full album under the Sky Shadow Obelisk moniker, and if he does, if it will take on the approach of the first or second song on this EP. A set of songs similar to the title track could potentially position him as a strong new voice within the order of extreme doom.