Rating:
9.0
Obscura - Omnivium
29 March 2011


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
10. Concerto [Cacophony cover] [deluxe edition bonus]


Omnivium is the latest offering from technical death metal quartet Obscura, and while I admittedly am not extremely familiar with many bands in this genre, it's safe to say that this album is quite an impressive showcase of talent as well as a listenable and well put-together piece of music.

The album starts off with a very strong track, "Septuagint". The acoustic intro indicates that some attention is being paid to creating atmosphere, which is a good sign. It then seamlessly moves to an electric riff similar to the acoustic intro and then the technical insanity begins. The riffage has a good melody to it and a very fast speed, the drums are being pounded at lightning speed and the bass adds just another layer of depth to the music. Yet within the speed and intricacy of the music, it isn't too hard to follow and it all flows very nicely. The performances on the whole album are very impressive, and while there is often pure showcases of talent, the songs have coherent structure most of the time and it isn't just showing off. The guitar solos on songs like "Septuagint" and "Velocity" are simply amazing, and the technique being used is not easy or simple stuff. Jeroen Paul Thesseling's bass is great, and really adds depth and interest to almost every track. Hannes Grossman lays down super fast beats as the backdrop to the chaos at most times, although, there are slower parts in many of the songs. This was refreshing at times, and the album didn't just suffocate you from start to finish. The album found a good balance between showing off too much and a structured piece of music because there was a lot of pure talent in the spotlight but it didn't disrupt the progression of the songs.

So, the performances and songwriting were both top notch in most cases on this album. The only thing I found to be fairly standard were the vocals, which isn't a big problem, but just don't expect them to be as impressive as the instrumentation is. The lyrical content is quite interesting, as I found myself thinking about the meanings of these songs even after listening to them, and they are all based on a unique concept to begin with, "Nature's connection with the spirit world" (the album is based on a work by German philosopher Friedrich Schelling).

I find it difficult to rate this album purely on my knowledge of technical death metal because, like I said before, that is somewhat limited. However, even when listened to with expectations set by other bands, this album holds up and shines. For any fan of technical death metal, Obscura, or of just good musicianship, I would recommend definitely checking this album out.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Obscura
Album: Omnivium


 


written by Mattybu | 25.07.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Apothecary - 25.07.2011 at 02:23  
I really think this might just be the band's masterpiece. Death metal album of the year, for sure
Grody2themax - 25.07.2011 at 05:23  
Quote:

The only thing I found to be fairly standard were the vocals


I'd have to completely disagree. I could see how you could think the vocals just sounded standard, if you were a complete outsider to death metal.

The vocals on this album were pretty varied if you ask me. A lot of high pitched screams, lower, more brutal growls, and they even threw some pretty cool effects on some of them. Her are a few examples of what I'm talking about.

That break down thing in Septuagint with the Cynic-ish robotic sounding vocals (3:20)
The dissonant backing vocals (or it could be a guitar synth, im not sure though) in Vortex Omnivium. (0:40)
The background voice in Ocean Gateways that comes in at 5:28. Listen to the weird effect they do on the vocals at the end of the song as well.

The vocalist has his own voice as well, it doesn't really sound like hes trying to copy anyone.
MechanisT - 25.07.2011 at 13:10  
Really nice review. Agreed on most parts, except for the vocals. I think they were a step up from Cosmogenesis and suited the music really well.
And indeed; the solo in "Septuagint" is absolutely mindblowing.
Mattybu - 25.07.2011 at 20:06  
Written by Grody2themax on 25.07.2011 at 05:23

Quote:

The only thing I found to be fairly standard were the vocals


I'd have to completely disagree. I could see how you could think the vocals just sounded standard, if you were a complete outsider to death metal.

The vocals on this album were pretty varied if you ask me. A lot of high pitched screams, lower, more brutal growls, and they even threw some pretty cool effects on some of them. Her are a few examples of what I'm talking about.

That break down thing in Septuagint with the Cynic-ish robotic sounding vocals (3:20)
The dissonant backing vocals (or it could be a guitar synth, im not sure though) in Vortex Omnivium. (0:40)
The background voice in Ocean Gateways that comes in at 5:28. Listen to the weird effect they do on the vocals at the end of the song as well.

The vocalist has his own voice as well, it doesn't really sound like hes trying to copy anyone.


Yeah, I see what you mean. I liked the variety, I probably should've mentioned that, but particularly the lower growls were very standard. That's more what I was trying to get across. I guess you are right in that there's some variety and it did add to the album. I love the Cynic-style stuff, too; Focus is one of my favourite albums and there was stuff reminiscent of that album on Omnivium.
Being and Time - 29.07.2011 at 20:23  
I agree with the reviewer on the vocals being weak, but not "standard". They are still far more varied than most death metal groups. They lack the strength that the Cosmogenesis vocals had, in my opinion; for example, the vocals on Ocean Gateways are raw and primordial, but ultimately very weak to me. Other than that, I would argue this is the technical death metal album of the year. A solid 8ish for me.
Mattybu - 29.07.2011 at 21:05  
Written by Being and Time on 29.07.2011 at 20:23

I agree with the reviewer on the vocals being weak, but not "standard". They are still far more varied than most death metal groups. They lack the strength that the Cosmogenesis vocals had, in my opinion; for example, the vocals on Ocean Gateways are raw and primordial, but ultimately very weak to me.


I guess weak would've been a better word, because it's true that in many other death metal groups the vocals are the same in every song, or very similar. They do mix it up here, but for me sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I agree completely about Ocean Gateways too.
Milena - 30.10.2011 at 02:21  
This is a pretty nice review, made me think about getting into the band.
Troy Killjoy - 30.10.2011 at 02:24  
Written by Milena on 30.10.2011 at 02:21
...made me think about getting into the band.

You should definitely give them a shot. This is a lot different than Cosmogenesis (especially production-wise) but either album is an excellent place to start. Their debut isn't as highly regarded but I still consider it a good album overall, it just doesn't stand up to this or Cosmogenesis.
Mattybu - 30.10.2011 at 02:29  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 30.10.2011 at 02:24

Written by Milena on 30.10.2011 at 02:21
...made me think about getting into the band.

You should definitely give them a shot. This is a lot different than Cosmogenesis (especially production-wise) but either album is an excellent place to start. Their debut isn't as highly regarded but I still consider it a good album overall, it just doesn't stand up to this or Cosmogenesis.


I still need to get those. It's a pity that the only album from Obscura I ever see in the (lame as all hell) places where I can get CDs is Omnivium, but at least it's an awesome disc anyways.
Megi - 12.02.2013 at 17:48  
These guys should be proud. This album made me buy their official tab book, these riffs are killah!
I'm happy for their cleans, finally a death metal band that experiments with cleans and doesn't embarrass themselves. Great album, sad I'm discovering it this late!

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