| Sound

Obscura – Omnivium

If Earth were to be invaded by an alien race the scene could be imagined as smaller bombers strafing the surface being coordinated from a mother ship. 

Much like, say, the US Air Force or Navy whose bombers are frequently deployed from an aircraft carrier.  During Operation Desert Strike the US bomber pilots chose Van Halen as their backing music for the bombing raids over Kuwait.  It’s not hard to imagine the alien attack force soundtracking their raids with Obscura’s latest record, Omnivium.

Based purely on watching the Hollywood version of these sorts of things the human emotions involved seem very much to be excitement, anger and some sort of merciless take-no-shit brutality.  If we assume the alien attackers have similar emotions invoked when carrying out such tasks, then the super technical death metal dealt out by Obscura most definitely highlights and accentuates these feelings.

Obvious influences for the Germans’ third album would be Atheist and Cynic, but Obscura still put their own stamp on proceedings, with less of a jazzy feel than either of these two cornerstone bands of the tech death genre.  The riffs and drum beats are more straight ahead metal with a whole bunch of additional textures and moods added.  There is a notable step-up in the overall quality of the songs and feel of the album here than previous offering ‘Cosomogenesis’, which itself was pretty awesome.  The music is fast, well-produced and offers something for both the casual listener just after a good ‘bang and those who want to become fully absorbed in the intricacies and complexities included.

Steffen Kummerer’s vocals are mostly deathly growls but with a European clarity to them similar to Gojira and nowhere near as impenetrable as the likes of Six Feet Under or Deicide.  The guitar work throughout is stunning with super complex riffing, melodic lead breaks and clean classically influenced passages all sitting comfortably alongside the warp speed and often highly melodic solos.  Indeed from considering the album as a whole it is most definitely the skill showed by guitarists Steffen Kummerer and Christian Muezner that sticks in the mind longest.  The powerhouse drumming of Hannes Grossmann propels the music along at a frightening pace while showing tremendous variation in keeping with the moods of various sections.

The album has been immaculately produced by the band themselves, with every element of the songs ringing through clearly allowing a very enjoyable listening experience.  If the listener wants to follow the low-down chug of the bass guitar through the bowels of the songs, or pick out every piece of guitar fretboard intricacy on display no problems are presented.  Such is the density and complexity of the music that seeing Obscura play these songs live could present some problems due to likelihood of rubbish sound systems inherent in small venues.  Although, the songs themselves still possess a huge amount of power and brute force, capable of levelling whole city blocks in one.

There’s not much point in picking out different tracks from the album as there are numerous different shifts and movements within each that the number of tracks on the album would have to triple before a meaningful description could be given that would sum up a whole song.  This album should be viewed as whole with all the different sections of the songs sitting very well alongside one another, twisting and turning in manner similar to the aforementioned alien attack bombers conducting a lightening fast raid while simultaneously evading Earth’s defences and the real-life equivalent of Will Smith.

If the Earth were ever attacked and it turned out Obscura were the band of choice for the various bombing raids then there would be no surprise.  However we should all be very worried if this does indeed turn to be the case, music like this would only propel our assailants to even greater feats of destruction that us measly humans wouldn’t stand much chance…

Released on Relapse Records 3/29/2011


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