Space is hardly a novel topic for a black metal band to explore. Themes of alienation, isolation, and futility run rampant through black metal already; it’s only natural to extrapolate such feelings of insignificance to the vast, ever-expanding, and deathly silent cosmos. Enter Oblomov, a Czech three-piece, and their first full-length, 2005’s Mighty Cosmic Dances. Playing a brand of melodic black metal, Oblomov’s sound is usually conventional. Yet, some secrets lurk among the far-flung stars…

Excluding the unnecessary intro and outro tracks, Mighty Cosmic Dances delivers 7 songs in 36 minutes, making its presence known while not overstaying its welcome. “Mentality Failure” begins our journey through the swirling entropy of space at relativistic speed. Demonic rasps meld with the melodic leads leading the listener to beauty through the profane. While most of the leads are true leads, songs such as “Lost Between Emotions” explore the crunchier rhythm guitars that instinctively causes a headbanging motion. Suddenly, a wild saxophone appears! Surprises such as this are what make Mighty Cosmic Dances an endearing record.

Electronic flourishes can be found throughout Mighty Cosmic Dances and most of them are welcome additions to the already complex compositions. “Starsend” provides one of the best examples of this, with its sampled introduction containing a barely audible stretch of “Singing in the Rain”. These details give the listener an impression of decades old radio signals drifting through the endless void, intercepted by intelligences beyond our ability to understand. While alien overlords are not explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, the implication of extraterrestrial progenitors monitoring or even controlling us is heavily hinted at and while keeping this image in mind, it’s not difficult to feel the paranoia in the music.

Mighty Cosmic Dances isn’t without flaws. Occasionally a song will meander a bit or repeat a section one too many times. “Nostalgic Idealization” suffers from this problem. Most of the riffs are interesting, but things don’t progress as smoothly or quickly as one might hope. The vocals are also a little high in mix all through the album, but they generally don’t overwhelm the other instruments. The record proper ends with “Dreamworks”, one of Mighty Cosmic Dances’ strongest songs. The muted interlude that flows into a bass-heavy build up is simply fantastic. Capturing the excitement and terror of space travel in aural form is not easy, but Oblomov finds the instrumental and atmospheric means to invoke the trope often.

Great album artwork, excellent title (seriously, Mighty Cosmic Dances is badass), an intriguing if occasionally uneven sound, and quality lyrical and thematic content all sing Oblomov’s praises in this initial outing. While not possessed of that singular kind of gravity that demands worship, Mighty Cosmic Dances should be in your listening orbit for years to come.

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 29 September, 2015.

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