Originally written by Jordan Campbell
Old-school death metal is seemingly everywhere these days; it has officially become the catch-all subgenre for people that want to start a metal band, but don’t know what the fuck to play. When ideas are in short supply, the easiest thing to do is rip off the bands that inspired you to pick up an instrument. This is blatant thievery. However, instead of calling these bands on their bullshit, we usually just put the kid gloves on and call it “old-school.”
The old-school tag isn’t just a mask for a wholesale lack of originality, though. It’s also a convenient marketing tool. Too lazy to write a bio? Can’t quite figure out how to describe your lukewarm, middling brand of death metal? No worries. Just namedrop a bunch of superior bands, toss in the words “tribute,” “homage,” and “groove,” and….BAM! Instant interest generator.
That’s not to say that old-school death metal doesn’t have its place. If you bring the riffs, we will come. Execution is the absolute key. The original work of the true old-school artists still sounds vital to this day. Therefore, the relevance of any new-breed act is predicated on the delivery of their goods.
Unfortunately, Obeah fails to deliver on this three-song demo. “Bound By Light” sounds like a Plasticine Bloodbath fronted by Chris Barnes, while “Pinnacle of Horrors” sounds like chaff swept from The End Complete‘s cutting-room floor. The simple, punky beatdown that rounds out the final minute is nod-worthy; but the followup, “From Abysmal Depths,” is a decidedly un-sinister attempt at sinister groove.
The self-production is admirable, if a bit hollow and plastic–much like the music. Obeah never comes close to matching the intensity and quality of their forebears. Granted, that may seem like a lot to ask from a demo, but glimmers of such potential are nonexistent. Literally hundreds of bands have plied this schtick over the course of the past twenty years, and precious few are worthy of pausing your Bolt Thrower session long enough to take notice. Obeah don’t rank among the rare.