Creation Of A Monolith, Canadian band Into Oblivion‘s sophomore album, is every bit as imposing as its title suggests. Progressive in ways that escape conventional expectations, usually restricted to overt technicality and unseemly fusion, this album evolves over its mammoth length without compromising one bit on its death metal credo. The shortest song here is well past 6 minutes so listeners are advised to gear up for the long haul but Into Oblivion are also remarkable songwriters in their own right, littering this album with fiery peaks and non-maudlin valleys, creating their very individual universe where the only rules that matter are ones devised within their minds. Similar to a band like The Chasm, Into Oblivion use extremely prosaic genre elements in terms of technique and by virtue of exquisite, left-field songwriting mould them into something entirely unique and all-encompassing.
From ashes arisen
Possessed by the flame within
The wearisome pursuit to absorb knowledge
Observe. Judge. Destroy.
Thoughtful lyrical work, much-inspired by the Nietzschean “Will To Power” ethos of Order From Chaos, induces a sense of grandeur in decay with an irrepressible urge towards perpetual spiritual renaissance. Verbose and without any concession to rhythmic lilt, these still make for far more elevated reading than most metal chaff and are acutely realized through the band’s drawn out songs. It bears repeating that these are indeed true death metal songs, genuinely angry and seething with a restless spirit to raze and rebuild. An undercooked yet entirely suitable production introduces a semi-translucent wall of white noise that has an especially hypnotic effect in the droning, repetitive sections found frequently through the album. Tempos find themselves in constant flux, resembling nothing so much as a predator on the prowl, mounting coldly calculated steps towards its quarry.
All songs save one being easily in excess of ten minutes, Creation Of A Monolith is best approached from an open-ended perspective. Treat these songs as an indivisible whole, refuse to entertain notions of instant gratification, embrace them on their own terms; easier said than done, granted, but as much like hard work as hearing this album may seem at times, the rewards are manifold, and one can, at the very least, come away with a sense of empathy and respect for the band’s vision and ideals. Arrangement over such vast lengths in particular, considering the band’s strait-jacketed style, is no mean feat but Into Oblivion, at no point, appear to be treading water. Yes, parts achieve stasis occasionally, symbolizing the vacuum that must exist when overarching structures meet their eventual fall, but are then expertly woven back into the greater narrative, heralding a new order birthed in flames and chaos. This criminally overlooked album, both life-affirming and humanism-denying, is one of the pillars of modern death metal, exemplifying the pulsing, self-empowering principle germane to the music as art form.