Seriously? Are you expecting a “review” on OBLIVION KNIGHT stuff? Well who can “review” something that is considered as an absolute classic? Anyway. Arkeyn Steel Records is reissuing both their demos in one CD, so it is a good chance to refer to a standard. Yes because OBLIVION KNGIHT’s music has became a standard on the US Metal underground realm.
Originally from Dothan, Alabama, US, Steve Sexton (bass) and Chris Camp (guitar) founded the band back in 1985. Their strong connection through letter writing and tape trading with bands from the growing Texas Metal scene of the mid 80s drove the
two young musicians straight to San Antonio, Texas where they joined forces with drummer Ken Ortiz (ex SYRUS) and vocalist Mike SolIz (MILITIA, ex ASSALANT, ex WATCHTOWER) and recorded their classic “Demo 1987”. An excellent example
of Heavy / Power Metal with a Prog vibe.
What is the common feature that someone can discover while listening to the four songs included on this demo recording from 1987? Yes I am referring to the “Clash With The Knight”, the “Sword In Hand”, the “Beyond The Gates” and “The Omega” compositions. Well the common feature is the excellent songwriting. Those are classic Heavy / Power Metal hymns carrying a mystical prog vibe. The above description mainly fits to the first three tracks while the instrumental “The Omega” works as an ideal epilogue for the specific demo, still being an ideal example of a first class guitar composition, mysterious and melancholic. Oh yes and Mike Soliz deliver a really amazing vocal performance on those recordings -probably better than the MILITIA stuff of the era, yes I FINALLY wrote it 🙂 -.
From 1987 until 1990 -release year of the second “Forgotten Realm” demo) the band followed a remarkable sound evolution, deeply inspired by the first wave of Prog Metal movement and bands like WATCHTOWER, early FATES WARNING and MAJESTY (pre-DREAM THEATER). New music was born and a new line up was created featuring Chris Collins on vocals (ex MAJESTY) and Keith Ciaramello on drums (it was actually Mike Portnoy himself who brought him in contact with the band).
Well ok now I got to write something about the music of this masterpiece. To cut a long story sort I would just point this: The “Forgotten Realm” demo can only be described as an outstanding piece of Progressive / Power Metal art. Someone can hear a band that transforms a strange type of brilliance into an unexplored soundscape. Sometimes cold and technical, sometimes adventurous and emotional the music included in this demo can not be described with words. “Forgotten Realm” is without doubt one of the most important releases in the entire US Metal scene.
Both the above mentioned classics are featured on the “Forgotten Realm” CD reissue on Arkeyn Steel Records. So let’s examine the overall package.
“Are there any bonuses included”? I am hearing you asking. Well the tracks of an audition tape from 1989 are included as
bonus. Those are instrumental versions of the “Forgotten Realm” demo featuring lead guitar parts by Brian Kibekinski. He was auditioned in order to join the band as a second guitar player.
All the material is digitally remastered. Lots of never before seen photos and the complete song lyrics are included. An in depth biography, revealing lots of unknown information about the band is also featured. The reissue artwork is based on the original “Forgotten Realm” cover.
Through the years OBLIVION KNIGHT was marked as one of the key bands on the Texas Metal scene, although they were not from Texas, their strong involvement with musician from the above scene, made them be a part of the Texas Metal legacy. A legacy that actually breaks the Texan and US bounders. A legacy that is coming to the foreground again thanks to this reissue.
One thing is for sure and is actually confirmed through this reissue: Oblivion Knight were ahead of their time. Talent, technical skills and artistic vision: the three main elements of this great band that made their sound so special.
The release date is October, 29th, you can pre-order the CD here.