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On disc: Obscura

Cosmogenesis - Mike Thompson - 4 stars


(Relapse Records - 2009)

In a year which included stunning albums from the likes of Asphyx, Nile and Vader, Germany's Obscura release their second full-length album, Cosmogenesis. I first noticed this album being advertised on social networking site Facebook where it was hailed as one of the greatest technical death metal albums ever. With the likes of ex-Necrophagist and Pestilence members in there you'd be forgiven for thinking the band would live up to the hype. Unfortunately this is not the case.
As anyone who has read pretty much any of my previous reviews will be aware I am a fan of hearing the bass guitar in the mix and it seems like Obscura are out to show that you can have a bass in the mix in extreme metal. In this album Jeroen Paul Thesseling (Pestilence) provides the bass duties with a 6-string fretless instrument probably more fitting to a jazz element. One thing I will say is that you can definitely hear the bass. The other thing I'll say is that it sounds bloody awful! The bass on this album is probably the most annoying thing to ever be recorded on a metal album. It doesn't even sound like a bass guitar, it sounds like some two year old messing about on a keyboard!
The guitars are as technical as you would expect in a tech death album and here and there they even leave the twiddling and come up with a good riff or two before back to that 'technical' stuff that in my opinion is ruining death metal these days. Even the best solos on this album tend to be ruined by that damn bass though!
Vocals are handled by Steffen Kummerer of Helfahrt and well, they're alright. Nothing special, certainly not in the league of Martin Van Drunen or Piotr Wiwczarek, but they do the job. If they weren't there you wouldn't miss them though as they don't really add to the song or engage the listener in any way. Its just a mid-range growl superfluous to the guitar wizardry which is what this album is really all about. If you re-read this paragraph and replace any reference to vocals and vocalists with drumming and drumming you'll get the idea what that is like too.
I wanted so much to like this album, but to be honest I'll take Death's Symbolic over this any day as it was an album that included top notch guitar work with some great songs. All of Obscura's songs are instantly forgettable and lets be honest, if I just want to hear guitar wizardry I'll stick a Malmsteen or Batio album on. Now will someone please smash that damn bass guitar!

4 stars

Mike Thompson


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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