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Obscura - Retribution CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Retribution is the debut full-length studio album by German death metal act Obscura. The album was released in August 2006 by Vots Records. After the success of the band´s second album Cosmogenesis (2009), Relapse Records released a repackaged, remastered version with 3 bonus tracks in February 2010. The re-release features a cover artwork in the vein of the cover artwork on Cosmogenesis, while the original cover artwork features a more brutal artwork with a man being pierced through the face by knives.

The music on Retribution is death metal with what I would characterize as blackened death metal vocals. other than that there´s nothing on this album that could be called black metal influenced. The music is well played and semi-technical death metal. Most people will probably come to this release after listening to Cosmogenesis, but let me warn you that Retribution sounds almost nothing like the technical and semi-progressive death metal style on Cosmogenesis. The band have chosen to cover songs by Suffocation, Death and Morbid Angel on the album, and those three bands are actually pretty good references, when trying to describe the music. Great tight musicianship, brutal yet memorable songwriting and a good powerful production are some of the words I would use describing Retribution. In the end it´s not the most unique death metal album I´ve heard, but still enjoyable on occassion. The Relapse Records re-release is pretty surely a reaction to the success of Cosmogenesis, because if it wasn´t for the success of that album, I´m not sure many people would ever have heard about Retribution. So somewhere between a 3 and a 3.5 star rating is fair IMO.

Report this review (#442831)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Obscura's debut stands far apart from their later albums, it's almost like a 2006 tribute to the early 90's extreme metal, with the exact same type of songwriting and sound of bands like Morbid Angel and Death. The addition of the Death, Morbid Angel and Suffocation bonus cover-tracks on the 2010 re-edition is no coincidence.

Fans of their later progressive material should approach the album with utmost care. Not only is it a pure death metal album, it also doesn't have the best of productions, it's very thick and muddy, suffocating all instruments and with very upfront kickdrums, which can get quite annoying during the frequent blastbeats. Also the songwriting leaves room for improvement. There's next to nothing in these songs that will make them distinguishable from the songs around them. That's a common feature with death metal and one of the reasons why I am not too fond of it. In short, it sounds like the album art.

Good: the album maintains a consistently oppressive and bludgeoning atmosphere. Bad: it lacks personality and fails to offer memorable material. I'd say this album is decent, but only catered for death metal aficionados that want a trip back to 1990.

Report this review (#446173)
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

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