Obscura - _Cosmogenesis_
(Relapse Records, 2009)
by: Paul Williams (
Technical death metal is a funny topic. With so many bands popping up all over the place, it's hard to not think of this as some sort of tech-death bandwagon and that they are all jumping on board because they see it as a quick buck. Of course it takes a hell of a lot of practice to get to the standard that many of these musicians are at, but with the arrival of Necrophagist's _Epitaph_ there has been a certain style of technical death metal that many other bands have been trying to re-create, and seeing as Obscura host former members of Necrophagist and Pestilence, I would hope that they would be able to step away from that sound and forge their own path. Well, the good news is they do. The bad news is that the path is parallel to the Necrophagist route and many similarities arise.One of the standout features to _Cosmogenesis_ is the oh-so similar production it has to Necrophagist's _Epitaph_, with each musician being given ample space to spread their musical wings -- which in the case of the bassist may have been a bad idea, as he seems to get a bit excited in a few songs; especially during "Choir of Spirits", where the bass is very prominent and hinging on annoying. At other moments though, the presence of the bass is right on the buzzer, as it just carries the band's sound on its back. Examples can be found on "Anticosmic Overload", which bursts with ferocity, and the instrumental "Orbital Elements", where there is a bass solo that deals out a dose of technicality.There is a streak of Origin influences in the way that Obscura seems to go on rampages through some songs, but this tends to get dulled down with the over-the-top changes in pace and subsequent changes in melody that are sprinkled throughout _Cosmogenesis_. The guitarists both know their way round their instruments and seek to prove to you that they can shred with the best of them, yet this leaves the music devoid of any real meat on its bones, as actual riffs are replaced with endless sweeping and start-stop guitar melodies, which are definitely catchy but at times tiring to listen to. The one upside to the two guitarists is the fact that they both have different styles. One leans towards the more neo-classical spectrum while the other has more jazz influences. This just tends to add that bit more variety to songs that many Necrophagist fans may not be used to.As far as vocals go Obscura seems well off, with a capable singer who can deal with the changes in pace and mood with relative ease. The vocals are very emotional; at times ripping right through the flurry of riffs and blast beats, while other moments call for a growl from the deepest depths of Hell.The emotion present in Obscura's sound is probably the saving grace of _Cosmogenesis_, as it allows it to be distinguishable from Muhammed Suiçmez's own corrosive outfit, giving Obscura something to call their own in the modern tech-death scene which, despite the technical ability of those in it, is hard up for distinguishable features between bands.
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