Review by Vladimir on November 1, 2023.
Alright folks, it’s time to learn history while listening to some melodic death metal, because the topic of this review will be a Czech melodic death metal band Oblivium Regnum and their self-released debut EP Zrádce, released on February 1st 2023.
As the opening track 'Břetislav A Jitka' begins, we are welcomed with an epic gregorian chant that lasts for about a minute and a half, until it finally kicks in with melodic death metal. From then on, we receive a plenty of awesome chugging riffs, melodies, epic choirs, thrashing drum beats, harsh guttural vocals during verses and symphonic female vocals during choruses. The later half of the song is backed up by a wonderful guitar solo which adds more to the musical emotions that were already conveyed with the riffs, melodies and female vocals. The rest of the EP is more or less oriented on pure aggression with growling vocals, death-thrashing and tremolo picking riffs, with either mid-tempo drumming or thrash beats, apart from the final track 'Poslední Bitva' which has a touch of symphonic elements like epic choirs and violins. The songwriting is simplistic and it heavily relies on a straightforward melodic death metal approach, aside from the first track which was far more dynamic and rich in terms of execution with the addition of epic choirs and female vocals. Every song on its own has a very solid execution and they all manage to stand on their own without repeating the same formula. Where I think this EP succeeds is those small bits where the riffs, melodies, solos manage to express emotions of melancholy, which are evident on tracks 'Břetislav A Jitka' and 'Poslední Bitva'. Something that I really wanted to point out is how the album cover feels almost nostalgic in so many ways, reminding me of main menus in medieval RPG and RTS games in the golden era from early to mid 2000s. Everytime I looked at it, I couldn’t help but think how it conceptually and graphically resembles something from classic video games like Gothic, Dragon Age: Origins or even Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos. I have no idea if this was intentional or not, but it certainly does get an extra point for hitting that spot. The overall sound production to me personally feels a bit thin, dry and a tad bit unpolished, and it sounds more like a demo recording from a band in the early 2000s (just like the album cover).
Even though the sound production is the weak point of this release, I still consider Zrádce quite enjoyable for its total of 24 and a half minutes of length. Despite its single flaw, in the end it turned out to be a worthy listen from start to finish. I hope that Oblivium Regnum are going to work on a full-length album which will surpass all the efforts they put into this EP and make sure that fans enjoy it even more.
Rating: 7.4 out of 10357