Anyone who knows anything about me and my listening habits knows that there are a few constants that I always find myself adhering to when it comes to my listening habits whether it be subconsciously or very on purpose, as is the case with everyone I’d say. Of all of the very conscious decisions that I make in that regard, one of my biggest ones is the following of Transcending Obscurity Records who I’ve never once been shy about showing my love of ever since I first discovered the Indian label back in 2014 with the release for The Dead’s “Deathsteps to Oblivion”. Since then, my relationship with the label, the bands that it’s brought to my attention, and the music itself have quite literally changed my life and the palette of music that I find myself immersed in to this very day, and it warms my heart to really see the label getting the attention it deserves with every worthy addition to their roster getting the proper respect, reception, and enjoyability from people all around the world. At the start of every year for some time now, they’ve released a label sampler showcasing just some of the new material that we as listeners can expect to experience in the near future with the roster from Transcending Obscurity seemingly always getting more impressive, the releases even more bombastic, and the quality simply undeniable. With their latest being the 2022 sampler, I would dare since this is on par to be one of their very best yet if not the very best.
Now, that’s a fun statement for me to say in regards to this sampler being one of the best simply because it feels like every new one is “the best one”. Yet, it feels true every single time. It’s become a true craft and hallmark of Transcending Obscurity at this point to release a boast of a sampler at the start of the year, and it’s with each subsequent one that they’ve shown another side to the label as well as the finesse of crafting a gripping compilation that isn’t simply a showcase of one track after another. With 2022’s, there’s an undeniable flow to the entire sampler with each track pouring itself right into the next no matter what style we’re talking about here as the death metal transforms into uncompromising black metal that morphs spectacularly into experimental, atmospheric, and haunting varieties of death metal that quickly become schizophrenic grind to then bring things right to a halt with the immense power and patient malevolence of doom and sludge. It’s in that selection that we are given a glorious tapestry of all that this label is still able to offer us without repeating from last year’s sampler even with some selections from 2021 albums like Wombbath’s “Agma”, Imperialist’s “Zenith”, and Replicant’s “Malignant Reality”, but it is everything else that shows us a new band or, at the very least, brand new material that we’ve never heard before.
Where this sampler goes in ways of new bands, I can’t help but feel immensely ecstatic to immerse myself in all that they have to offer as well as the immense pleasure of seeing some names that I recognize from years prior including. Some, we can already get more than a taste from with As the World Dies releasing their self-titled record in just two months, Atvm’s album from 2021 effortlessly being one for the books with a new glorious 9-minute offering for this sampler, Veilburner who is quickly becoming a staple for Transcending Obscurity with a brand new powerhouse of a song premiering here along with returners like Henry Kane, Lurk, and De Profundis to help bring glory to more label alumni. But then it’s from acts like Sisyphean, Byonoisegenerator, and Dischordia that we’ve already seen sneak peeks from courtesy of the label’s YouTube channel with their entries truly getting my blood pumping for their impending efforts. Every single name has its time to shine here with my personal favorites truly standing out with Frozen Dawn being a slice of raw black metal that we can never have enough of, Morbid Evils delivering a patient and calculated effort of sludgy doom, Henry Kane who continues to impress me with its wildly serrated brand of grind and crust, Typhonian who’s brief but wildly effective use of atmosphere really sets the death metal apart from many, and, by far the one that caught my eyes and ears the most, Gateway who I’ve followed since their debut with effortlessly one of the most crushing and engorging songs featured on this sampler with the very reality of a release of their coming from Transcending Obscurity a match made of true underground glory that puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. Between all of what’s to be had in this 2022 edition of the label sampler, it shouldn’t be too hard to realize that it’s a cut above the others from the very foundations of the work asking more of the listener with the challenges being greater with higher rewards to match and naught but pure unfettered excellence to be had around every feasible corner. Truly, it is here we see the peak of what can be tagged as “all killer, no filler”.
Despite a number of names tragically leaving the label and some of the roughest years to date in the history of Transcending Obscurity due to the pandemic and the ravaging it has done upon the country of India, it’s in the face of monstrous adversity that this underground presence has moved forward with true vision and passion to try and bring the best that they possibly can with the all-engrossing material to match. The selection we see here in this sampler is but a taste of what this label is capable of with the impending releases of Abyssus, Vorga, The Last of Lucy, Godless Truth, Hellfrost and Fire, As the World Dies, and Et Moriemur being primed for release at the time of this typing alongside all the true greatness released in 2021 from Wombbath to Eremit to Vahrzaw to Norse to Revulsion to Marasmus to 71TONMAN and beyond all showing us the many sides to Transcending Obscurity that simply cannot be ignored nor will not be denied. Every year is a great year for Transcending Obscurity from the outside looking in, and I can only hope that 2022 brings the relief, glory, and prowess that the people behind this excellent presence deserve for the true service they do to cultivate the very underground of metal to what we know it as today.
LISTEN to the 2022 label sampler on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Transcending Obscurity Records on Facebook here.
WATCH videos from Transcending Obscurity Records via YouTube here.