Released just this month by Eisenwald Tonschmiede, "Orbis Tertius" is the outstanding debut from San Francisco's Ordo Obsidium. For me, this material perfectly represents everything that I crave from this particular niche, and is absolutely perfect for this time of year. It's all about atmosphere with this stuff, and you can expect superb black metal that occasionally delves into slow, ominous doom through long, at times hypnotically repetitious songs (the five tracks clock in for a total of more than 47 minutes)—utilizing loads of tremolo picking, abrasive screams, and emotive melodies. Quirky, discordant textures flirt with both harsher aggression and a more mangled sense of melody from time to time, while gorgeous acoustic passages and tactful, subdued synths are also occasionally employed for added effect. Also impressive is the perfectly raw recording that's not so over the top that it becomes grating. You can even pick out the basslines with relative ease, which is always a plus. I wouldn't exactly say they're trying to be the most inventive band out there, but that rarely matters. Honestly, it's often the bands that focus on taking the perfect foundation and tweaking it just a touch that create the most immediate impact. As usual this write-up is way too succinct and I'm not effectively communicating myself here, but the music should speak for itself. (If the epic twists of "Emptiness Under the Moon" don't grab you, I mean, come on!?) I haven't been this enthusiastically excited about a black metal album in awhile. Amazing songwriting, powerful atmosphere... I love it. Highly recommended. Awesome.