Restless Oblivion - _Sands of Time_
(Solitude Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (5 out of 10)
With Solitude Productions you know the routine: with each batch of albums being released by this highly efficient Russian label (the label seems to release albums by batches, up to ten different new releases in each batch, rather than an album by album operation) the division goes something like 50% are completely bland and redundant, 30% are brilliant, timeless albums and the remaining 20% are total musical garbage.

Restless Oblivion's _Sands of Time_ belongs to the largest portion of average releases. How average? Painfully so. Why painfully so? Because the band own all the faculties potentially capable of creating something decent and memorable, but instead go the easy way, offering nothing more than sonic mediocrity. _Sands of Time_ is a typical Solitude Productions release: hailing from Russia, writing mostly uninspired melodies the likes of which we have listened to countless times before, displaying the usual low growler, the same soap-opera tragedy-laden riffs that have long since desensitized the listeners with their pedestrian niceties, and an array of lush keyboards that fail at impressing on a stand-alone criterion as well as fail at transcending the music beyond the habitual doom / death frequencies the speakers are spewing. The album is monolithic, uneventful and it treads safe waters -- maybe too safe and unadventurous.

The production is the usual Solitude Production sound, that is to say full and rounded and velvety smooth, enabling the music to sound heavier than it would have been with any other given production, tempering it with a pummeling force and smooth dynamics that are easy on the ear and well rewarding for those who would relate to that kind of metal.

However, all of the above mentioned 'treatments' the music underwent do not compensate for the lack of basic and most fundamental aspects of good music, mainly the songwriting ability and the capability to generate a certain robust, adequate atmosphere that will correspond with the music, complement it and serve as an additional musical instrument.

Those qualities are unfortunately poorly displayed on _Sands of Time_, and in addition you won't find any personality in the music of Restless Oblivion, in both senses of the word: it's neither personal, as in mirroring the singularity of the musicians behind the music, nor is it unique on any account, even when stretching this concept of originality beyond the immediate parameters.

The music is not bad per se, and that's what's frustrating here; it is good for what it is, but displays absolutely nothing you haven't heard before by innumerable other average musical entities such as Wine From Tears, When Nothing Remains, Mournful Gust, and so on and so forth. If you happen to like that brand of melodic doom /death, it might not do you any harm listening to _Sands of Time_, but then again, it might not do you any good, either.


(article published 30/5/2014)

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