For those of you that only know about Brazil because of Pele, Ronaldo and their famous footballing brothers, then you should really have a listen to Semblant, a rising star in the hard rock scene of South America and ‘Obscura’ is the long awaited follow up to their 2014 release ‘Lunar Manifesto’, which won them international praise and more than 30 million views on YouTube.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpzsz6a6XMg&w=560&h=315]
Formed in 2006 in Curitiba, Brazil by vocalist Sergio Mazul and keyboard player J. Augusto, the band has seen multiple line up changes, but has successfully bought together doom, gothic, thrash and death influences to produce a melodic death metal sound with dark and extreme influences.
The album opens with ‘Murder of Crows’ which finds Mazul and Lin trading vocals over a frenzied blast beat, with the band sounding like a tight unit, which sets the tone for the entire album and carries on into ‘Left Behind’. Mizuho Lin has a clear powerful voice which rises above the grind of the guitars and complements Mazul’s low growl at the same time as leaving you feeling that the two are fighting it out to be top dog. It works really well and just adds an extra dimension to the overall sound.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvXav_mrde4?start=1&w=560&h=315]
Next up is ‘Dethrone The Gods, Control The Masters (Legacy Of Blood Part IV)’ which opens with a driving beat and growling guitars with Mazul’s deep roar over, before Lin cuts in and let’s her vocals soar, while Juliano Ribeiro gives a nice solo a little further in. ‘Mere Shadow’ has a guitar undertone which I really like as it carries the track alongside more thumping drums allowing Lin and Mazul to battle it out once again and that is the beauty of this release. Here is a band that know their strengths and they are just getting on with it. They aren’t trying to be something they’re not or re-invent the wheel, they are just giving us a solid serving of symphonic death metal.
The pace is slowed slightly for ‘Porcelain’, Lin’s vocals flowing over the music, making for a much softer approach, which is then in total contrast to ‘The Hunter, The Hunger (Legacy Of Blood Part V)’ which flies out of the blocks and doesn’t let up for the next four and a half minutes. It’s unabating beat is there from start to finish as it sees us into the second half of the album.
‘Wasteland’ and ‘Barely Breathing’ are once again full-on metal tracks, the latter pausing from time to time to change beat before taking us into ‘Wallachia’ with its blast beat and Mazul’s deep roar once again to the fore alongside some riffs from Ribero.
’Daydream Tragedy’ is the penultimate track and if there is a ballad in here, this is about as close as you will get. It opens with a Ribero solo leading into much calmer vocals from Lin before gently rising to a rousing crescendo. It works really well and shows that the band can mix it up when they want to and still produce a quality track. ‘Insomnia’ is a bonus track on some formats which finds the band back in more familiar territory with a pounding beat and Lin’s powerful voice out front alongside Mazul’s deep threatening roar.
This is a solid third release from Semblant who have been around since 2006 and have seen numerous line up changes in that time. But having signed to the Frontiers Records label late last year, maybe now they are now ready to show a wider audience what they can do.
Look out for Semblant on their re-scheduled European Tour later this year.
Obscura was released on Frontiers Music on 6th March 2020.
- Murder Of Crows
- Left Behind
- Dethrone The Gods, Control The Masters (Legacy Of Blood Part IV)
- Mere Shadow
- The Hunter, The Hunger (Legacy Of Blood Part V)
- Barely Breathing
- Daydream Tragedy
- Insomnia (Bonus Track)
Reviewed by : Howard Whitelaw (April 2020) for MPM