So it seems Emerald existed for a couple of years after forming in 1984 before vaporizing without releasing anything. So I’m not sure to what degree they can really claim to be “back” when they reunited in 2014, but Hell, they’re here, so let’s just run with it. “Angels of Oblivion” is this Tucson trio’s third album, and having no experience with their previous output, I went into this blind as a cave cricket (fuck your bat adages, mine’s accurate).
When you start your album, start fucking solid. That’s what Emerald do here, dropping a fantastic opening track of traditional metal with “Devil’s Law.” Vocalist Jeff Melin’s singing is a little nasal and bothered me a bit at first, but I eventually found he actually suits the music perfectly, and well-crafted lyrics delivered at the right time make for some memorable moments.
I’ve always thought that an album’s title track should be one of the best cuts on there, and the song “Angels of Oblivion” doesn’t disappoint; it’s a scorcher of traditional doom. Jeff’s vocals excel here, and the chorus’ monstrous riff is almost as heavy as your mum. It all continues on swimmingly until the track “Black Machine,” which unfortunately sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s a faster track than most of the others, which wouldn’t be a problem except that it’s not a terribly interesting song. The mechanized voice effects in the background don’t add much to it, and the vocals are surprisingly weak here. This type of menacing aggression doesn’t seem to be Jeff’s forte, and that’s particularly evident during the awkward chorus. It falls terribly flat, but luckily the following track “Lycanthropy” maintains the quicker pace and pulls it off much better. We finish off with “Retronaut,” aptly titled and an absolute stomper, and the closing instrumental “Sky of Solitude” is a fantastic cap to the album.
The production job here is efficient enough, not much to complain about but also nothing worth writing home about. A bit more bottom end sound would’ve been nice. Some of these riffs have the potential to shatter tectonic plates, and having those deep, bowel-moving sounds would’ve definitely added that extra oomph.
Well, Emerald have delivered a fine album here, and kinda makes you wish that they had been making albums since they originally formed. I guess sometimes you just have to wait some three decades to get your shit out the door. What can ya do? There’s lots to enjoy on “Angels of Oblivion,” so if you’re a fan of traditional, doomy metal, don’t miss out on this one.
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