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Obscura - Omnivium CD (album) cover

OMNIVIUM

Obscura

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.73 | 54 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Obscura play the kind of tech-deth jive that's got my back. The band's influences are all over the metal map, and these guys are quite capable of mashing them all up into a fine blob of clay and sculpting their own designs with each track. There's even a bit of variance between tunes, and of course the band have dexterous skills to spare.

One of the main things that Obscura brings to the table that gives them an identity of their own is the ever busy fretless bass playing. Omnivium still waves that flag, but this time around the bass isn't so obsessively featured as on their prior effort Cosmogenesis. A slight letdown maybe, but there's still plenty of bass chops within to counter the guitar melodies.

Another thing I dig about Obscura is that they care about song structure, which some of these other similar groups don't seem to comprehend while writing finger exercises and calling them 'songs'. I can actually remember chunks of this band's work after the album finishes. Granted, it's not the kind of stuff I'll be singing in the shower or serenading my kids before bedtime, but at least these songs entertain on more than just a "wow, that part was really wicked" level.

Opening with what seems like an homage to Metallica's "Battery", Obscura plays around with velocity and quiet passages, adorning some of these tracks with spacey clean vocals that assist in bringing out the sci-fi atmosphere. Otherwise, vocally you have your mid- ranged growled delivery and the more guttural monster vocals trading off lyrics, mixed well within a tight concise production. There are certainly some ripping fast sections, but the album as a whole isn't some 'blast-athon', with tunes like "Ocean Gateways" showcasing a lumbering gait. Some could be put off by the production values emphasizing clarity over heaviness, but with this band and its running science fiction themes the mixing is beneficial and a much better option than muddying up stuff for the sake of a brutal sound, especially since I'm down with the interplay between the guitars and the bass, which would be lost in a heavy mix.

Is this album an improvement over the great Cosmogenesis? Not really since I find that album a little catchier, but Omnivium holds its own and pushes a couple of new ideas forward, and their proggier influences are starting to open up a little more. I'm curious to see what direction they'll go next, but so far they're on the right path.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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