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Oubliette - The Passage (2018) - Review

Band: Oubliette
Album title: The Passage
Release date: 13 July 2018
Label: The Artisan Era

01. A Pale Innocence
02. The Curse
03. Solitude
04. Elegy
05. Emptiness
06. The Raven’s Lullaby
07. Barren
08. The Passage

Oubliette, American masters of melodic black/death metal are back four years after the release of their acclaimed debut album Apparitions and proudly present to you the next album The Passage, through the label The Artisan Era. If you are still not familiar with the band, know that we are talking about dominant figures here. Oubliette came to life in 2011 as a studio project between husband and wife, Mike Low from Inferi and Emily Low. Nowadays the band has a solid line-up. Emily Low (vocals), Mike Low (guitar), Todd Harris from Battle Path (guitar/backing vocals), Andrew Wampler from Ophiuchus (guitar), James Turk (bass) and Greg Vance (drums), both from Enfold Darkness. The intriguing eerie cover artwork for the album was created by Justin Abraham who has done cover arts for groups such as A Loathing Requiem, Aepoch and Lecherous Nocturne.

In the debut album Apparitions the music was somewhere between the melancholic acoustic darkness that reminds me of Agalloch and the death melodic condemnation like Insomnium. Already the sound of The Passage brings me to bands like Dissection, Alcest and early In Flames. This is a brilliant album, full of melancholy and beauty, with fast passages of black metal and a good dose of melodic death metal. It is ethereal and fluid.

The first instrumental track starts with full speed without losing the sweetness, the fierce drumming and a master riff already makes me want to hear the rest of the album and shows me that I am facing a work of impeccable quality. The second track, "The Curse" in the early moments has a discordant sound and a strong drumming that imposes itself, the vocals explode on the scene with brutality and come in a black/death fruition, I couldn't expect anything more timely than that. It is the door opening for a more like Insomnium sound that is "Solitude", the third track. It is noteworthy how this album circulates between black metal styles without any fear of making mistakes. In a moment we find a typical aggressiveness, then a more progressive style, not forgetting the melodic death metal tones and also some folk elements that you will find in "Elegy".

The transition to a more somber but sweet, slow and thoughtful music style comes in the fifth track "Emptiness", which is stylistically very close to Alcest, setting the tone to the subsequent tracks, "The Raven's Lullaby" and "Barren". These three tracks reminded me several times to the album Kodama. And last but not least is the title track, "The Passage". Here Oubliette resumes speed by presenting a traditional and very well chosen black metal to close their masterstroke.

I could get more into the description of the tracks, but I believe you should get the album and draw your own conclusions, and I'm sure you will love it. My favorite tracks are "The Curse", "Elegy", "Barren" and "The Passage". Oubliette is one of those bands where passion and skill prevail in each chord, the message was conveyed with mastery. If you like art, The Passage is for you.

Review written by: Felin Frost
Rating: 9/10