Metal Review: Alfa Obscura – Plutonian Shores (2011)

Alfa Obscura - Plutonian ShoresBjørge Eide Martinsen is a name that is very ingrained into the black metal community, albeit a name that has experimented with various progressions to the typical black metal sound. As varied as Martinsen’s music abilities are, so is his music. He is always one to push the envelope, and with trying to expand a musical genre that was not meant to be expanded upon, he has also fallen out of favor with a lot of the black metal community. That really is a shame too because his music is as solid as it comes.

Alfa Obscura does share many similarities with Martinsen’s other one-man band, Yurei, but this one-man band (this band being Alfa Obscura) also sets itself apart enough to be worthy of a different band title. With Alfa Obscura’s latest release, Plutonian Shores, we are treated to some classic black metal sounding riffs along with his more avant-garde side of things. The album is a little shorter than I would like only clocking in at 42 minutes, but that is me just nitpicking. While not worthy of getting the EP tag slapped on it, it is a full-blown release that explores different paths than many of your typical black metal releases.

With song after song tackling different sonic topics, Plutonian Shores is well worth your time, whether or not you are a black metal fan. While I have never been entirely sold on Bjørge Eide Martinsen’s vocals, they are adequate enough to tolerate the artistic mastery expressed within this release. Do yourself a favor and check the album out, if even just for a few of the standout tracks like Stalkers of the Black Stars or Hell Rethroned.

Plutonian Shores Track Listing:
01 Waves from the Plutonian Shores
02 Intense Departure
03 Mistress Viper
04 Hell Rethroned
05 The Weaver
06 Benighted Hierophants
07 Stalkers of the Black Stars
08 The Antagonist I
09 The Demon is on the Horn
10 Den Siste Reise