Obscura

Retribution (Reissue)

Written by: MT on 06/04/2010 11:08:11

I was first introduced to Obscura when I heard their critically acclaimed technical death metal masterpiece "Cosmogenesis". When I received a copy of their reissued debut album "Retribution", I was expecting something in the same vein as the mighty sophomore, but was surprised to hear something which sounded like a completely different band. It took a little while to chew this beast, but when I finally swallowed the monster, I found it to be a wickedly solid slab of death metal.

I must say I haven't listened to much death metal as of late, but "Retribution" has inspired me re-explore the long forgotten abyss of my record collection and dust off some of my old death metal tomes; because this record feels like a homage to those old classics. From the start, the listener is hit in the face with a dirty, raw and old school death metal sound in the vein of Deicide, driven by ultra scooped guitars and neck breaking blast beats. The production is not as clean and grotesquely-polished as "Cosmogenesis", which definitely grabs my attention. The vocals sear through the brutal riffs with high pitched screeching which sounds Possessed-inspired and a little like Mille Petrozza from Kreator at times (could be the German accent?), with an occasional growl in between. The mixture of these border-line black metal vocals with, instead of the gore-obsessed lyrics, more occult based themes, creates a really good atmosphere throughout the album. Obscura even manage to slide in some interesting little clean guitar passages, like in "Hymn To A Nocturnal Visitor" to generate a brooding vibe; one of the album's highlights. Albeit these sound a little less thought-out and seem slightly amateurish at times; especially the middle section of "Sentiment". The band does however manage to fit in a nicely placed cello in the previously mentioned song, showing the listener that they are open to experimentation.

The band's influences shine through and whilst listening to the record, I can't not think of bands like Death which seem to be a major influence, especially on the guitarists of the band. The song "Alone" is still my favorite off this album and seems to sum up the record in a nutshell; the Chuck Schuldiner inspired riff in the intro being much appreciated. They also cover Death's "Lack Of Comprehension", Suffocation's "Synthetically Revived", and Morbid Angel's "God Of Emptiness" really well. With a line-up consisting of members who have played in, among others, Necrophagist I wouldn't expect any less.

If you are looking for prelude to "Cosmogenesis", this is not it. What you will find in it's place is a solid debut from a promising band, who have released a death metal album to stand high above the sea of mediocrity. Not to mention this is a remaster with some juicy bonus tracks and a great new cover!

Download: Alone, None Shall Be Spared, Hymn To A Nocturnal Visitor
For The Fans Of: Death, Deicide, Suffocation, Morbid Angel
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 16.02.2010
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