As you probably have noticed, or perhaps you don’t really care, until very recently there weren’t too many acts in the Bulgarian underground scene that revolved around doom metal. However, in the last few years there’s been a glimpse of light in the cave and a few bands have awoken the field to some extent. And as you can imagine, sometimes the best music comes from the places where you expected to find it the least.
Obsidian Sea released their first demo in 2010 and I remember someone telling me about a tape by a doom metal band from Sofia, Bulgaria that I was “going to enjoy”, because it was very oldschool or something like that. I remember this sparkled my interest a lot, as I thought no more than two people liked doom in Bulgaria and I was one of them. I was surprised a lot because the tape consisted of some really purist traditional doom metal. It was good, it was rough and of course there was a lot to be desired, but I want to highlight what impressed me the most - that was the presence of a good taste in music. Once you have the right approach, I believe you can achieve a lot. Of course, what is right and wrong approach could be debated forever, but let’s face it - if you like Edguy and try to create traditional doom, you might as well fall in your own trap like a ballerina with a broken toe.
The debut album that followed two years later was good, I remember particularly liking some of the ending solos. What was in the tape was in the album – roughness of sound, traditional doom, harsh atmosphere, but there was something lacking for it to appeal to people largely, I guess. I remember the songwriting in two songs was really neat, it did hold a promise for something better, but it was somewhat stale in some other tracks, which kinda prevents the album from flowing. Now, at least for me, ‘Dreams, Illusions, Obsessions’ has what the previous album lacked in many aspects.
To start with, it does sound more mature – like a fucking fruit you finally waited to become ripe. The sun, the wind and the rain finally settled in to give it a taste. The sound is thicker, richer; probably one idea less rough (everyone is sorry that this is not Burzum) but still could mislead you that it was recorded in the 80s. I believe the bass section is a very prominent ingredient that was previously missing. It's not greasy and too audible like you'd expect in some typical sludge and stoner albums, but it does add for the overall depth of sound. The atmosphere is more haunting, more prominent; the album feels like it has a spirit of its own, it is searching, looking to reach for somewhere. It does remind me in some ways of the better Italian doom bands. The music itself sounds like it is the ghost of someone mentally tortured that has returned to haunt where it belonged first. I am not really sure what the lyrics are about, but if most songs had one main character, it would be that of someone confused and continuously crashing in his own consciousness. The opener track is more upbeat, angry, with a riff that promises to burn what it catches on the way and then slows down to tell its story. What stands out in the very beginning is that a lot of the songs could be cut to fit in an Italian olschool horror film in the suspense moments. I can see a blooded pale hand holding a knife above Edwige Fenech’s throat to the sounds of ‘The Fatalist’. The guitar tone is really thick and warm and the mixing is quite good, but what makes this album greater than its predecessor is the songwriting, with some songs like “Child in the tower” being particularly catchy and memorable. I would put down as my own favourites – ‘The Trial of Herostratus’, ‘Mulkurul’ and ‘The Fatalist”. Check out those delicious riffs: