Opprobrium - _Discerning Forces_
(Nuclear Blast, 2000)
by: David Rocher (
Just when you thought opportunistic reformations were beginning to really piss you off, here come (or rather return) Opprobrium, their CD proudly bearing the statement that the band are in fact better known as "Incubus, from Louisiana, USA". Indeed, after releasing the death metal classic _Serpent Temptation_ in 1988, Incubus released its somewhat samey sequel, _Beyond the Unknown_, in 1990, and then mysteriously disappeared from the face of the scene. Well, maybe it should have stayed that way; many a fond memory is better laid to rest -- a thought which Slayer should definitely consider reflecting on. It's not that _Discerning Forces_ is in any way a bad death metal album, but it would certainly have kicked a lot more ass some eight or ten years ago, as a direct follow-up to _Beyond the Unknown_. What _Discerning Forces_ most unconceitedly reveals is that founder brothers Francis and Moyses Howard (former bassist Mark Lavenia having apparently spontaneously mutated into thin air) have, over the past seven or eight years, taken the time to study the scriptures of Bolt Thrower, Obituary, _Leprosy_-era Death and many hardcore acts, whose influence they have attempted to graft on to their own thrashing songwriting style. As a result, _Discerning Forces_ is actually a pleasant, in fact really catchy death metal entity at times, but merely falls short of offering the same level of enthralling violence as _Serpent Temptation_ surgically delivered at the time; despite the fact that it offers many a tight, aggressive and catchy riff, this comeback slab sounds rather disjointed on the whole, and basically tends to display a lack of congruence and conviction within one same track. Moreover, warnings against the spiritual devastation incurred by Internet surfers ("Addiction set forth, Denial is always high, Warning unnoticed, Trapped to the web") prove to be just slightly (a frantic understatement) anachronistic in a Y2K death metal album. So all in all, albeit being efficiently interpreted by proficient and probably dedicated metal musicians, Opprobrium's new offering just fails to rise from the slightly tepid musical swamp in which it revels.
(article published 8/12/2000)
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