It would be quite lazy to lump German prog/death doomsters Nailed to Obscurity with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, but let’s do that anyway just to save time. ‘Black Frost’ is their 4th full length and their first for label Nuclear Blast who have clearly seen some potential in the quintet.

Spanning just 7 tracks over 47 minutes ‘Black Frost’ is a good exercise in gloom and doom normally reserved for northern English bands but with added elements of early Opeth just to keep things a little interesting. The problem arises that when bands such as Anathema, PL etc have crafted cult and classic albums within the genre it’s difficult for other bands to adopt and improve on the blueprint set by said bands. So do Nailed to Obscurity have the chops to be revered by fans of the style? The answer is not really, but they try hard and there is some promise on offer here.

The album opens with the title track, just shy of 8 minutes long, showcasing what they do best – and where they fall short.  Vocalist Raimund Ennenga has a great death grunt which give the tracks some added depth, but musically the ideas seem a little formulaic with a whiff of ‘heard it all before’.

It’s not that it’s even a bad album – there are definitely moments to cherish such as the My Dying Bride-influenced ‘The Aberrant Host’ and the death-flavoured proggy touches evident in ‘Tears of The Eyeless’ and ‘Road To Perdition’. The most interesting parts of the album occur when they go into full-on shoe-gaze mode, the dynamics of some of the lighter passages bringing life to tracks like ‘Resonance’.

One gets the feeling that these songs will make much more sense in a live setting with minimal lighting, a crushing mix and a bellyful of beer. On record though it falls a little too flat, but there is enough potential here that may just save them from their own Obscurity.

NAILED TO OBSCURITY – ‘Black Frost’ is out now via Nuclear Blast

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