Any single person who pays even a little bit of attention to the reviews that I’ve been putting out for years now, one of the extreme constants in my time has been Transcending Obscurity Records. Witnessing the rise of the Indian label has done a lot for me from helping shape my taste in metal, realizing that metal is far more global than I ever dared to think beforehand, and gave me on the very labels that I knew I could follow knowing without a doubt that quality would be consistent and constant. Every year for the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to be given a label sampler at the top of the year in order for us to see what’s in store from the label and its fantastic roster in the future, and 2021 has presented us with something very special. Not nearly as extensive as previous samplers, but, one cannot deny the extreme levels of quality that are seen all throughout these 38 songs from 38 bands some of which have become synonymous with the label to brand new names, and with accompanying art that showcases one of the best works of late from the legendary Mark Riddick, there’s no reason to fall into this compilation.
Despite more than half of the sampler consisting of death metal in some form or another, eclectic is still the operative word that everyone needs to use when discussing this offering. We cannot ignore all that there is within the sampler for it is more than ever an accurate descriptor with a little bit of everything to be had here in some way or another as Transcending Obscurity continues to put its best foot forward whenever it can with another tremendous offering with there being another great record which every step that is taken.
It’s from the department of truly uncompromising death metal that we are treated to a true menagerie of picks from staples of the label like Paganizer or Heads for the Dead or new names like Revulsion with a third single from their impending release, Leper Colony’s beyond-infectious display of true riffage, Abyssus’s flair of the old school that performed with peak delivery, or a gorgeous display of technical prowess from the likes of The Last of Lucy and Supreme Conception. But if it’s that scathing black metal that really gets you getting as it very well should the collection is just as fierce with Sarcoptes already delivering a new track from the follow-up album to last year’s “Plague Hymns”, The Furor finally returning to us with a no less than blistering offering, Noltem coming out of the shadows with a delectable song that promises an album full of color, finally a glimpse into Ashen Horde’s impending label debut album, and Arkheth coming back to my extreme excitement with an extensive work that takes a completely different path than what I’ve come to fall in love with, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And what other way could you close out such a massive offering than some monolithic offerings from the realm of doom? Despite only having five bands for us this time around, nothing is left to chance nor is any fucking around to be had with Eremit, a name that is a perfect example of everything that Transcending Obscurity has become, leading the charge with a beyond-massive 18-minute work off of their extremely anticipated second full-length, Arche staggering our way with immense power and presence to call down the very sky upon us, 71TONMAN presenting a far more sludgy and thick listen than what we got from last year’s sampler that was still a massive track in all accounts, Bøg doing no less than flattening the competition with titanic riffage whose raw power simply cannot be ignored, and Solemn Echoes’s closer delivering us a massive listen that’s a more than perfect way to lay this sampler down to sleep after over three hours of undeniable power, quality, and talent.
Of all the labels out there that continuously show us what they’re made of, it is constantly Transcending Obscurity that surprises me every year and I can happily say that impartially with the proof being truly black and white. The progression of this label has been a true pleasure to witness from its very humble days of a PR with releases from the likes of Norse, The Whorehouse Massacre, Affliction Gate, and Seedna just being the mere beginnings of what would expand into a global phenomenon, and rightfully so! This year is already promising extreme potential with releases from Revulsion, Soothsayer, Marasmus, The Scalar Process, and Sepulcros already being up for pre-order at the time of this post with releases from Eremit, Crypts of Despair, Noltem, Paganizer, and Abyssus being all but confirmed for 2021 as far as I know (don’t take that for fact!) with many others to unquestionably follow. As every time, I greatly implore you to keep an eye on this label for it won’t disappoint you, and do support the releases you love when you can.
LISTEN to the 2021 Label Sampler on Bandcamp here.
BUY loads upon loads of great merch and music via the official Transcending Obscurity store here.
LIKE Transcending Obscurity Records on Facebook here.