On Formaldehyde

Written by: TL on 19/12/2008 15:35:57

The end has come. At least for me and my clean-up operation, as Obscure's (the Norwegian one) debut album "On Formaldehyde" is the final promotional copy I'll be reviewing in 2008, and from now on I only have to coast over the last two weeks of the year on the back of some records that I'll be writing about on a more voluntary basis. Let's talk less about me and the job though, and more about the band and the music shall we?

This Obscure band (there are apparently at least 6 bands with this name) hail from Bergen, Norway, and are indeed the new band of former Enslaved guitarist Roy Kronheim. This new endeavor of his openly admits to being a band bent on paying homage to the oldest of heavy metal's giants, and as such they list Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and the likes amongst their influences. Especially the first two are perfectly audible in the lengthy psychedelic compositions of good old-fashioned stony rock'n'roll, and in my ears, Obscure align perfectly with their inspirations in almost every aspect, the chief exception being that their debut fortunately sounds a fair bit better production-wise. This is 2008 after all, and thankfully the band have realized that wanting to sound 'classic' doesn't necessarily entice recording music on equipment from before World War 2.

However, aligning perfectly with a band like Black Sabbath also unfortunately means that you're including a singer with a vocal prowess equal to Ozzy Osbourne's. Need I explain why that's not helpful to your music? Granted, I guess people who are as obsessed with the golden oldies as Obscure themselves are will find that the vocals simply fit the style, but objectively speaking, it is never ever a good thing to have a vocalist who sounds as poor as Ozzy, and to me it certainly detracts from the otherwise quite joyous grooves and tunes here.

Overall, "On Formaldehyde" seems to me like the kind of record that's definitely better than average, but in terms of placing it between 6 and 10 on our grade scale, the all out focus on a period of music past and the somewhat acquired taste the vocals embody bars Obscure from mingling with the rock'n'roll high society.


Download: Veins Of Steel, Abra Macabra
For The Fans Of: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Queens Of The Stone Age
Listen: myspace.com/obscurebergen

Release Date 17.11.2008
Dark Essence / Karisma Records

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