The Obscure Sibyl is the debut EP of the Florentine band Oneiric Celephaïs. It begins with a conceptually linked triptych of songs inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and concludes with “Vǫluspá“, named for the first and best-known poem of the Poetic Edda and one of the most important primary sources for the study of Norse mythology. Of those opening three tracks, “The Aeon of Death” is the second. The band explain:
“‘The Aeon of Death‘ is inspired by Lovecraft‘s horror story “The Nameless City”. The descent of the narrator in the un-reverberate blackness of the abyss of the catacombs is an allegory for the katábasis of every Sibyl’s follower, a descent which leads to obscurity, depression and ultimately to death. ‘The Aeon of Death‘ represents the central part of the triptych of the EP: the sinking of man into the abyss gulfs served only to discover sights of woe and doleful shades”.
With a description like that one, you might be expecting an oppressive display of cavernous death/doom. Prepare to be surprised.
Instead of a suffocating descent into murky and frigid trenches of horror, Oneiric Celephaïs — vocalist/lead-guitarist Federico Giusti, guitarist Emilio Lucchesi , bassist Francesco Mazzino Pietro Fambrini, and drummer Emiliano Burchi — have created a head-spinning musical thrill-ride that reveals the influence of such bands as Death, Obscura, and Spawn of Possession. Yet they have simultaneously managed to create an atmosphere that pulls from the heart of its supernaturally abysmal literary source material.
To achieve that unnerving atmosphere, the band immediately introduce a slow, queasy, morbid arpeggio that continues to surface through adaptations across the song, paired with a moody and musing bass line. But at the same time they hint at the instrumental pyrotechnics to come with flurries of rapid-fire drumming and swarms of fevered fretwork. As the song’s intensity swells, the darting and swirling fretwork becomes more demented and vicious, the drum patterns change rapidly, and the roaring vocals bark in monstrous, rabid tones.
The song’s intricacy and kaleidoscopic permutations are mind-boggling, and the clarity of the production magnifies that effect. Yet the eerie harmonies keep the music tethered to that feeling of horror and despair that emerged early on, and just past the mid-way point a beautifully fluid, ringing guitar solo further develops the music’s feeling of agony and spectacular delirium, and there’s a soft guitar instrumental near the end that’s simply sublime.
And thus the song achieves a rare combination of sensations — it’s a display of riveting technical wizardry; it’s both vicious and mesmerizing; it’s chillingly atmospheric; and it incorporates moments of memorable beauty.
The Obscure Sibyl will be released by Gore House Productions on August 7th, and it’s the first in a series of releases that the same label has planned with the band — which is good news indeed, because it will be great to hear more of Oneiric Celephaïs in the future.
The artwork for this EP is fantastic, and credit for that goes to Vladimir Chebakov (Hideous Divinity, Katalepsy, Veld). The Obscure Sibyl was recorded in Void Studion by Leonardo Bellavista (Vexovoid, Coexistence, and Burial), and it was mixed/mastered by Francesco Paoli/Francesco Ferrini (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and Marco Mastrobuono (Hour of Penance).
Below, in addition to our premiere and useful links, you’ll also find a stream of the previously released song “From Beyond“, which immediately follows “The Aeon of Death” and concludes the EP’s opening triptych.