Pagan Black Metal / Black Metal / Power Metal / Folk Metal • Lithuania
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OBTEST has started in late days of 1992, inspired by the then new and challenging Black Metal explosion, particularly in Scandinavia. Bands like Enslaved, Grand Belial's Key, Mayhem, and Darkthrone had a huge inspirational effect on the youngsters. However, the fascination of the music they have been initially involved into Metal and growing up with [Manowar, AC/DC, Death, Grave] has never faded away, and that’s perhaps the explanation of the evolution OBTEST music has gone through years.

Still, their aim never was, never is and never will be to imitate anyone or copycat something that was already done before. Thus, through years they have made a remarkable shift from the raw bludgeoning Black Metal band in early demo days, through awe-inspiring Heathen/Black Metal on the debuting Tukstantmetis record, up to Heathen War Metal tagged second album Auka Seniems Dievams that was full of catchy choruses and melodies simply ripping the
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OBTEST Discography

OBTEST albums / top albums

OBTEST Tukstantmetis album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Metal 1997
OBTEST Auka seniems Dievams album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Auka seniems Dievams
Pagan Black Metal 2001
OBTEST Iš kartos i karta album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Iš kartos i karta
Folk Metal 2005
OBTEST Gyvybes medis album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Gyvybes medis
Power Metal 2008

OBTEST EPs & splits

OBTEST Dvylika juodvarniu album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dvylika juodvarniu
Pagan Black Metal 2003
OBTEST Prieš Audrą album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Prieš Audrą
Black Metal 2006

OBTEST live albums

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OBTEST Reviews

OBTEST Gyvybes medis

Album · 2008 · Power Metal
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My initial thoughts on this Obtest album were ”can it get any more mediocre?” – yet, for some reason, I kept returning to it. There is very little on display that immediately hooks the listener, except maybe the catchy chorus bit of the first track. The music in question conglomerates a variety of styles – traditional heavy metal, black metal, some folk, and even a bit of thrashy aggression – without falling under any precise genre tag. It is hard to tell where the BM sound ends and heavy metal begins because the band has, over the years, become very adept at fusing these influences together seamlessly. The work is so devoid of typical genre clichés that this further complicates classification.

It takes time to get acquainted to the overall soundscape. The good impression is made over a span of a dozen listens, and undoubtedly many listeners will never get that far. In a world full of music, why invest your time in this? One reason would be the careful and surprisingly intricate songwriting style. If I were to summarize Obtest, I would bluntly call it the band that creates good songs out of mediocre riffs. On their own, many of the ideas in the songs are either palpably bad or merely forgettable, but when fused with the right things before and after, simple power chord strumming is suddenly the most wondrous thing in the world. This happens a lot on Gyvybes Medis and is often complemented with tasteful lead guitars and solos which add tremendously to the atmosphere of the album.

Although I briefly mentioned folk in the opening paragraph, and even though the band is often lumped under the eerily vague “pagan metal” quasi-genre, it must be stressed that Obtest is light years away from the Finntroll lot. Melody on the album is entirely based on guitars, with no synths or native instruments used, and as I previously hinted, the stylistic mix is so tightly woven that there are no overt campfire moments. This is not like Arkona (Rus) who manage to use approx. 75 variations of that same “Perun’s Celestial Silver” intro riff on every album and make a career out of it. Beating that dead horse is so commonplace nowadays in “folk” metal that it warrants special attention if a band does not do it.

If I were to mention one negative aspect about Gyvybes Medis, it would have to be the vocals. They deliver a good raspy sound somewhere halfway between black metal gurgling and plain singing, but the monotony turns somewhat irritating during the course of 43 minutes. The vocalist never takes a turn towards a more evil sound, nor does he stray into clean vocal territory except at a few odd spots. This is either a bad compromise or simple indifference about vocal arrangements.

Despite the dull vocals, I recommend this to anyone with a spare week on their hands.

(originally written for Metal Archives)

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