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Obscura: Omnivium

Damn...I'll say it again... damn. Here I thought that Obscura's 2009 release Cosmogenesis couldn't possibly be topped, but after listening to their latest Omnivium a few times, I'm thinking that that one was simply the calm before the storm. Omnivium could possibly be the progresssive & technical death metal album that all others that follow in its wake are judged by. It's simply that damn good folks.

It's quickly obvious when you listen to the opening cut "Septuagint" that Obscura have developed & matured both musically and from a songwriting standpoint. Plenty of jaw dropping instrumentation to be found here, but all the interweaving guitar and bass lines make total sense, and are quite memorable. There are even some effective clean vocals thrown in alongside the death growls which work out just fine. "Vortex Omnivium" sounds like the bastard step child of Human/Symbolic era Death and Cynic, littered with wonderful growls, crushing riffs, intricate drum fills, and simply stunning unison guitar & bass lines that seem to go in every direction but always come back and tie things together. You'll be taking a deep breath after this one is over!

"Ocean Gateways" takes you to more traditional death metal realms, while "Euclidean Elements" ups the ante with blazing guitar lines and herculean drum blasting. The acoustic guitars and melodic electric guitar lines come out on the tasty " Prismal Dawn", a real Cynic influenced track, and "Celestial Spheres" is another solid slab of melodic, technical death metal. Again mixing clean vocals with growls, there's a wide assortment of guitar tones on this piece, even a stunning Opeth styled tranquil passages right smack in the middle. The band lurch into the pummeling "Velocity" with Morbid Angel styled ferocity, but then jump right back into Opeth territory on the highly progressive "A Transcendental Serenade", a wildly complex piece filled with jazz, classical, death metal, and prog influences. Album closer "Aevum" is an almost doomy number, complete with deep growls (that have an almost gothic feel), and monstrously crushing riffs. The song builds and builds towards a frenzied death metal conclusion that will please any old school fan.

Album of the year? It's a bit early yet here in 2011, but I don't doubt that Omnivium will be near the top of the heap when it comes to best metal albums released this year. Obscura have eliminated much of the competition with this one, and deserve to be labeled as one of the best technical death metal bands on the planet, period.


Track Listing
01. Septuagint
02. Vortex Omnivium
03. Ocean Gateways
04. Euclidean Elements
05. Prismal Dawn
06. Celestial Spheres
07. Velocity
08. A Transcendental Serenade
09. Aevum

Added: March 28th 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 3795
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Obscura: Omnivium
Posted by Brian Block, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-28 19:22:47
My Score:

Celestial Spheres

Obscura's latest album is definitely the best death metal albums I've heard so far this year, and is also one of the top overall albums, too. Sometimes utterly brutal and other times softer, though I find it hard to classify any of this as soft, Obscura has reached their peak in both creativity and musicianship. Not only have they released a great album, but they've redefined technical death metal once again and, in my mind, reached to the point of other technical death metal greats such as Atheist and Cynic.

From the first listen of the album I enjoyed it, especially the great guitar work by both Christian Muenzner and Steffen Kummerer. The solos on this album are absolutely awesome and increase the enjoyment of listening to this album a lot. On songs such as "Aevum" the guitars set the tone and carry the melody perfectly, providing a nice, even feel that is hardly paralleled in today's metal scene. Though mostly a guitar and drum driven album, Jeroen Paul Thesseling's bass work is top notch and really drives the album. This is especially evident on tracks such as "Euclidean Elements" and "Septuagint" where his 6 string bass shows how diverse Obscura is, and how they don't suffer from many of the genre clichés.

One thing that I wasn't sold on from the beginning though was the drumming. Unlike bands such as Atheist, Death, and Cynic, Obscura's drumming changes sound and texture throughout the album. At first I wasn't sure I really liked that, since it sounded kind of artificial, but after a while I began to see it really added to their overall sound. On the track "Septuagint" this is especially shown in the beginning when it is a nice acoustic section that has the normal drum sound, but it then transfers into a technical death metal melody in which the drums change and become hollower sounding, so to say. That may sound bad, but it offers up a great sound that is really enjoyable and fits right in. Also, the acoustic sections on this album are very good and help distance this album so many others. The vocals are also very good. Steffen Kummerer has a knack for growling and it is really depicts Obscura's image.

The production is excellent, clean, and clear. It really helps the quality of an album when the production is good, and that is what we have here. Not only is it a great production, but a great album as well.

If you like technical death metal, just a little bit you will be blown away by this album. Not only is it a genre defining piece but it has great musicianship, wonderful production, and great creativity. This album is a must have for any metal fan and definitely one of the best releases of 2011. For this fantastic album, Obscura gets 4.5 stars.


Obscura: Omnivium
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-07 16:08:24
My Score:

Obscura left a permanent mark on the technical death metal scene with their 2009 album Cosmogenesis, and it certainly looks like they've done it yet again with Omnivium. Technical death metal has been a bit of a stagnant genre in recent years, but Obscura has assured me that it's far from dead. These guys just constantly push boundaries and kick tons of ass in the process! If you consider yourself a fan of technical/progressive death metal but can pass on many of the genre clichés, Omnivium is one of the most essential releases in recent memory. On this album you'll find innovation, breathtaking musicianship, and compositions that are impossible to ever forget. Any progressive/technical death metal fan can consider this album a "must-have" in my book - I have a feeling that we'll be looking back on Omnivium 20 years from now as a genre-defining album.

Obscura plays a style of progressive/technical death metal with clear influences from bands such as Atheist, Death, Cynic, and even touches of progressive melodeath like Opeth (there's substantial amounts of acoustic guitar on this album). Although this style of music has been done to death in recent years and has been watered down by metalcore influences, Obscura still has their own identity and never seems at all like a "clone band". Unlike many modern technical death metal CD's, Omnivium isn't all about never-ending scale acrobatics, and -core influences are kept to a minimum. This album manages to seamlessly mix unrelenting complexity with melody and memorability, and that in itself is worthy of accolades. One interesting note is the 6-string fretless bass from Jeroen Paul Thesseling, and that also gives Obscura their own identity. His playing style often reminds me of Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Sadus), which is obviously a good thing.

The production is yet another shining achievement of Omnivium. The sound is crystal clear, full, and extremely clean. This is a top-notch sound, and definitely among the best I've heard in modern extreme metal.

If you were convinced by the previous Obscura album, there's no doubt that you'll be blown away once again by Omnivium. This is yet another killer slab of metal from these German juggernauts; I'm sure that this will go down as a classic in the history books. These guys are at the top of the technical death metal world right now, and Omnivium has earned them an excellent 4.5 from this humble reviewer. If you like technical death metal, get this one NOW!


» Reader Comments:

Obscura: Omnivium
Posted by ??? on 2011-04-04 20:12:53
My Score:

You have not heard how good this sounds until you have heard the vinyl version. It was cut at Masterdisk and plays at 45rpm. Thought only Jazz records were cut like that? Think Again...




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