In the nearly ten years I’ve been doing these reviews, I’ve been blessed with a few constants in my life that keep me interested in more than one way with new material from different sources and always give me something to look forward to no matter what. As one of the first labels I ever got adequately into contact with that has had its fair share of bumps in the road and misfortunes, Transcending Obscurity Records has long been a boon whose worth I have never doubted. Every year proves to be something to behold in more ways than one for the label with samplers showcasing the label’s talent gracing us at the start of every new year since 2018. This time around, that proves to be no different with this year’s edition one of the shortest yet but one of the boldest.
Even as we’re able to see Transcending Obscurity have as many victories as much as woes in the dense metal underground like what has been happening to many labels, time moves ever forward with the label’s persistence admirable. Even in the face of vicious delays in vinyl and odds that can seem overwhelming at times, it’s still now that we’re seeing a very large selection of the label’s releases from last year be named as 2022’s best with many eyes looking upon the label for another glorious show in 2023 with many expectations already being met. Even if we weren’t to include many of the albums that are already confirmed and either available for listen now or up for pre-order from the likes of Leper Colony, Ashen Horde, Sarcoptes, 71TONMAN, and Frozen Dawn already making heads turn, 2023 is poised for greatness. The label sampler, though, it’s a showcase for what else the label has to offer both in the past, present, and future that is always something to be watched.
A place that has long celebrated diversity amongst genres and those who push the boundaries in more ways than one, this is a label sampler that really shows us the direction that Transcending Obscurity is heading in. Still an absolute bastion for devastatingly masterful performances in any given genre from new names that keep things interesting, we’re still given throngs of others who push the envelope in dissonant, progressive, and imaginative ways to really show us just a taste of all that the underground still has to offer. Names familiar to the label adorn this year’s sampler yet again as we’re granted fresh glimpses into new creations from the likes of Imperialist, Feral, Officium Triste, Crawl, Warcrab, Eternal Storm, Veilburner (already?!), and more return to us with those songs all from albums of varying stages of completion with Feral and Crawl already anticipated this year but the jury is still out for Imperialist and Officium Triste, but patience is a virtue with talent like this. But, it has to be the new names to adorn this sampler that my attention becomes very interested in with Gateway still my most anticipated creation from the label to come forth with the death-doom band’s next release impending upon us any day now, and it comes in glorious company! From Phasma’s voracious mix of brutal death and black metal coming together for a blistering whirlwind to Terra Builder’s staggering blend of death metal and grindcore that promises great things to Serpent of Old really delivering a performance that feels like the fieriest kind of cataclysms to Dwelling Below’s monstrous death-doom that is utterly monolithic even as it is doing naught but lure you into its dark realm, the 2023 label sampler has no shortage of new talent for Transcending Obscurity to yet again boast as we look forward to those bands and all the others releasing the material for performances that will surely be more than interesting to check out.
Each year really does feel like a wild success for the label from the outside looking in given the quality and power that’s always brought to the table with every year’s releases and much more, and I can only hope that things will be going better behind the scenes as well. While we already find ourselves pre-occupied with the recent release of Leper Colony’s eponymous debut on the label as well as trying to still get our fill of what 2022 brought to the table for the label, this year is already shaping up to be a real powerhouse as always for Transcending Obscurity! The label could even downsize into doing only digital releases of what’s in store from here on out and there would still be little doubt in my heart when it comes to the wild selection that we have brought before us. Be it the impending releases of Ashen Horde’s “Antimony”, Sarcoptes’s “Prayers to Oblivion”, or 71TONMAN’s “Of End Times”, or any of the soon-to-be albums up for pre-order like Lurk, Vomitheist, Gateway, Dead and Dripping, Decipher, and more, 2023 proves to be another bountiful year for Transcending Obscurity Records in damn near every way!
LISTEN to the 2023 Label Sampler on Bandcamp here.
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