Death Metal, Hardcore

Obstruktion – Monarchs Of Decay (Review)

Band: Obstruktion
Album: Monarchs Of Decay
Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Country: Sweden
Release Date: 26th of February, 2021
Released via Isolation Rec.
Cover Artwork © Isolation Rec.

After the pre-song of the new Swedish Metallic Hardcore band Obstruktion already got me hooked, I directly pre-ordered the record. Now that the LP has finally arrived a few days ago, I could listen to the whole debut album Monarchs Of Decay and convince myself of the Death Metal-heavy sound in full length. Even though the combo hasn’t been around for too long, it consists of people who have been involved in the Swedish Straight Edge scene for quite some time, as some of the members are also active in Waste and Disavow, who might be known to some people due to their latest EU tours. You can quickly notice the fact that a certain experience is brought here with the quality of the songs, even if it musically goes into a different direction than you are used to from the other bands of the members. Obstruktion deliver a much more metallic sound, to which you can not only mosh mercilessly, there are also some parts where you can really headbang to.

In total there are 10 songs on Monarchs Of Decay and a playing time of almost half an hour. From the beginning on, Obstruktion try to beat the shit out of everything with low-pitched guitars and scratchy vocals – and on some tracks they really manage to do that. The riffing is versatile and also offers a lot of good solo parts besides sawing sounds, which crystallize the Metal part of the album. Through the groovy drums and their famously cymbal playing, however, they clearly show that they belong more to Hardcore, even if the style of playing is very Metal. There are a lot of heavy breaks and mosh parts to discover here, which can project their aggression onto the listener. However, due to the screaming vocals and the mostly rather medium tempo, the sound stagnates a bit at some point and seems a bit monotonous. For a Hardcore record, though, Monarchs Of Decay is definitely big time material, mainly because of its flawless production and clear sound. The distinctive parts are unfortunately still a bit too rare for my taste and can’t stand out as often as expected. However, the various tracks still invite to stage diving and thrashing around, especially because the breaks ignite brutally and at the same time form the band’s greatest strength. Overall, the Metal parts could sound more rancid and also the sound seems a bit too smooth to me to call the album a Metal / Hardcore hybrid.

Nevertheless, if you like nasty guitars and hard pounding, you will quickly get used to the 90’s influenced sound of Obstruktion – and you will like it a lot. I especially like the songwriting, which gives each of the instruments and even the nasty vocals space to freak out again and again, often shifting the focus and finding a good balance between heaviness and groove. If the whole thing sounded a bit dirtier and also the Death Metal parts came out better, the album would be quite a demolition. So it is “unfortunately” just a sludgy Metallic Hardcore record done by Hardcore kids for Hardcore kids, which bangs here and there, but in the long run doesn’t quite ignite as I expected it to. Nonetheless, a good debut for anyone who likes to get down in the pit and likes distorted guitars and tight drumming, and Obstruktion should definitely be pursued and not lost out of sight – even as a Metal fan, as chances are high that the sound could become even more Metal in the future.

Monarchs Of Decay was released via Isolation Rec., one of the European labels that is currently releasing some good Hardcore bands and has thus made a certain name for itself. You can choose between two different vinyl versions, which really bring out the strong cover artwork and push the sound out of the speakers a bit more powerfully than the digital version does. The official release date was February 26, 2021, but many copies of the physical version are no longer available despite the recent release, as the band seems to be very popular in the Hardcore scene.

Obstruktion present a strong debut album with Monarchs Of Decay, which can score with a powerful and captivating sound. Personally, the songs are still clearly too much in the Hardcore spheres and sometimes a little too slow to ignite permanently. But nevertheless, this is hard stuff to which you can certainly get a few bruises live and freak out with pleasure. So if you are into Metallic Hardcore inspired by some good old 90’s Metal and like to pass the time with furious midtempo rolls, you will get your money’s worth. True Metalheads, on the other hand, will probably not like the record as much as the Hardcore fan community, since the Metal influences are a bit lost in the long run and mostly show up in some catchy guitar solos. But if Obstruktion can show off their heavy hitting Death Metal elements with a higher presence on future records, they will be able to convince even the last doubters.

Favourite Tracks:
“Driven by Hate”
“Blackened Skies”

7/10

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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