Here is one of the stranger albums in recent years. The Czech Republic is known for its oddball takes on grindcore, approaches that turn a simple genre inside out and recreate it with altogether disparate, at times inadvisable, influences. Sectesy stay on the metal side of things, but like another Czech band, Lykathea Aflame, inject their purported death metal with enough stylistic flair to make it stand out in today’s scene.
Lykathea Aflame played Cryptopsy-style brutal death metal with exotic Oriental melodies; a ham-fisted combination on paper but one which somehow worked within the context of novelty and what was being done in death metal at the time. Sectesy share a few similarities with Lykathea Aflame, both bad and good. Like their forebears, Sectesy are a band with interesting melodic ideas, but also like the older band, not always great at tying those ideas together. Shreds Of Oblivion is full of clunky transitions that don’t always make sense and even seem a bit discomfiting from listener perspective, considering the band’s imbalanced writing style.
This problem is one of fitting a square peg into a round hole; more explicitly, it arises because of awkward rhythms or time signatures for the kind of smooth, melodic motifs that Sectesy write. There is a distinctly inorganic feel to how parts in these songs are fitted together, as if they were assembled using software instead of human interaction. This may be how a majority of music is composed today, for logistical convenience more than anything else, but one perceives the drums on Shreds Of Oblivion as an afterthought and a formality rather than an integral part of the songwriting process.
Consistent, however, is Sectesy‘s gothic sense of dark melody, similar to the doom metal of Europe in its flamboyant, unabashed appeal to emotion; death metal techniques are widely prevalent, too, but gothic metal would be the preferable nomenclature for this album after all. And when seen in that light, Shreds Of Oblivion becomes an exposition and a study not only in the virtues of melodic identity in a scene that has progressively devalued melody, but also in the manifest pitfalls of that same melodic overzealousness when practiced by unnuanced hands.