In the realm of music, urgency often births innovation. Obrij, a Ukrainian hardcore infused death metal ensemble, exemplifies this truth in their latest EP, “Імперія бидла” (Imperiya bydla, meaning ‘Empire of Scum’). Conceived in the crucible of conflict, the EP emerges as a raw, unvarnished exploration of social and political discord, couched in sonic aggression.
From disparate cities, the band members reunited at the onset of the Russian invasion. Time, ever the intangible asset, was scant and undetermined. Obrij’s choice to forge ahead in the hardcore and d-beat genres, tinged with death metal hues and textured by Boss HM2 sound, was born less of stylistic premeditation and more of exigency.
“Mass repressions, forced resettlement, destruction of the national elites and total Russification. This was inherent in the Soviet Union, the same practice continues in modern Russia,” – states the band.
Obrij’s sound palette on “Імперія бидла” is far from monochromatic.
Though grounded in the hardcore and d-beat spheres, the EP is not shy about its forays into death metal territory. The influences here are manifold: from the seminal Discharge to the ferocity of Wolfbrigade, from the melodic sensibilities of At The Gates to the guttural might of Entombed. The confluence of these influences shapes a vortex of sound that is as turbulent as it is targeted.
“Obrij navigates the crossroads of hardcore, d-beat, and death metal, sculpting a soundscape that echoes both the frenzy and the meticulous craftsmanship of genre stalwarts like Discharge and Entombed.”
With a lyrical lens sharply focused on modern Russian fascism, the band crafts a narrative dense with themes of war cults, perpetual antagonism, and collusion. It’s an unflinching look at the sociopolitical chasms that have ruptured not just geographies but also collective psyches.
Hailing from Uzhhorod, Ukraine, and formed in 2013, Obrij’s musical DNA is imbued with the spectral presence of bands like Bolt Thrower, Morgoth, Asphyx, Mangled Torsos, and Gorefest. However, it’s their current context that appears to be their most influential muse, catalyzing their sonic evolutions and elevating their discourse to a pressing topicality.
Obrij’s “Імперія бидла” serves as both a reflection and a refraction of the uncertain times that surround its genesis. It’s an album that doesn’t merely play—it militates, forcing to confront the uncomfortable realities it encapsulates. It’s less an invitation to listen and more a clarion call to engage with the complexities of a world in disarray.