Ob·o·lus [ob-uh-luhs] noun, plural -li [-lahy].1. A modern Greek unit of weight equal to 0.1 gram. 2. A silver coin of ancient Greece worth one sixth of a drachma. Origin: 1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek obolós small coin or weight.*
I'm sure there's an irony in there somewhere. Lay Siege is a young Heavy Metal outfit hailing from the seething Metal cauldron of Milton Keynes and 'Obolus' is their debut release. It is a six track lump of very Heavy Metal that would not mind being Pantera's 'Far Beyond Driven'.
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The comparison may be a little simplistic but it gives you an idea of where this album is coming from but where Pantera were a very angry heavy as fuck machine this lot are just rowdy. I think it might have something to do with the impotency of youth.
That's not to say 'Obolus' does not have its charms. 'The Ferryman', 'Wastelands' and 'Explorer' are good candidates for inclusion on any radio rock show playlist but there are two things that let the album down; the production and the lack of depth.
The production is a bit muddy, in places sounding no better than a reasonable quality demo cassette when it could really do with a crisper, more open production to do this stuff justice. Although Lay Siege lets the album have its head and sit in its groove perhaps they do not drive it enough because 'Obolus' gets a bit two dimensional, monotonous even.
None of the tracks run for longer than three and half minutes and it's a terrible thing to admit but on the first play it took until the fourth track to realise that the first one had finished, the sameness not helped by the relentless grunty vocal.
However, bite the bullet and leave it on replay and you should start hear the subtleties percolate through. This is when the album starts giving a little. Overall the playing is tighter than a nuns snatch at an orgy and there are tons of ideas waiting to be explored which bode well for the future.
'Obolus' will not set the world alight and it certainly will not give its peers anything to worry about. What it is, however, is a heavy and capable debut that is full of potential from a young band that when it matures and finds its natural level after having the zeal and optimism of youth kicked right out of it should have a very rewarding future.
At less than a fiver for the download, well worth a punt.
*Reference – One of those online dictionaries.