Obscura

Cosmogenesis

Written by: AB on 25/02/2009 21:26:24

Obscura is a German band whom I prior to this review had no knowledge about, even though they have been around since 2002 and have one release under their name. However, as soon as I realised the band featured ex-members from such high profile progressive/tech death metal acts as Pestilence, Necrophagist and Defeated Sanity I knew I wanted their new album! Upon first listening, however, I realised that Obscura's tech death easily can stand for itself; this is no mere funny little side project or an exercise in passing time.

Sure to please fans of old school technical/progressive death metal acts as Pestilence, Atheist, and Death (esp. "Human" to "Symbolic" era) as well as followers of newer extreme technical death acts like Necrophagist, Decrepit Birth, Odious Mortem and so on, "Cosmogenesis" is a tour de force in mind blowingly technical virtuosity. The speed level is generally high, with Grossmann's (ex Necrophagist) drums especially laying down frantic blast beats, on which the eminent dual guitar work speeds on top with super fast leads and solos. The ability of axe wielders Muenzner (ex Necrophagist and Defeated Sanity) and Kummerer is one of the biggest strengths of the album, as they lay down layer upon intricate layer of hard riffing, soft interludes, fantastic solos, and blazing leads. The sound is generally close to that of the much mentioned Necrophagist, however, Obscura is not a clone band - their sound is much more melodic, organic and usually faster compared to the more brutal and to the point guitar and vocal work in Necrophagist. In some tracks it is however easy to hear the origin of some band members - opener "The Anticosmic Overload" (fantastic song by the way!) sounds very similar to the Necrophagist classic "Stabwound" for example.

The skills of bass handler Jeroen Paul Thesseling (ex Pestilence) contributes in no little way to the 'soft', organic sound on "Cosmogeneis" - his ability with his 6-string fretless bass is nothing short of fantastic, and is one of the reasons Obscura has avoided the 'choppiness' that plagues so many of the time signature changes most technical death metal bands employ. Another part of the organic feeling of "Cosmogenesis" is Kummerer's growls which are softer than your average death metal vokills. In certain places it sounds very similar to the vocal work of a certain Mr. Schuldiner..

However, not all is organic, and don't think this is melodeath. Far from it. The lyrics deal with space, dimensions as well as more personal topics. This is underlined with some 'spacey' vocals from time to time where Kummerer's shrieks have been treated to a little computerized creativity. This is - like everything else on "Cosmogenesis" - well done however, and just adds another layer to the music instead of subtracting anything from it. The spacey feel is also evident in the guitar work, especially the instrumental song "Orbital Elements" but also tracks like "Noospheres" and "Centric Flow".

The production is also really really good - the bass is excellent, as said, and lays heavy and thick in the mix - in most death metal bands it's rarely audible, here it's fantastic! This is a super death metal release, without being totally fantastic. The sound is very similar throughout the album, and though there is nothing wrong by being inspired by other bands, it feels somewhere somehow that one has heard this before. However, this is still an impressive album all in all with enough instrumental flashery to impress just about everybody, enough old school inspirations to entertain the old timers, progressive and newfangled enough as to be interesting throughout, focused and immediately catchy as well as diverse enough to impress continuously.

8

Download: The Anticosmic Overload, Desolate Spheres, Centric Flow
For the fans of: Death, Pestilence, Necrophagist, new Decrepit Birth
Listen: MySpace

Release date 02.03.2009
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