Obscura - Cosmogenesis
Relapse Records
Technical Death Metal
10 songs (50:13)
Release year: 0
Official Myspace, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Surely there can be no prizes for guessing from whom this band takes its inspiration? For those unfamiliar with the work of the majestic Canadian technical death metal project that was Gorguts, Obscura was the name of their classic third album, released in 1998. The whole concept of technical death metal has solidified a great deal since then; in fact, the technical death scene may now even be becoming the dominant subgenre of death metal. Certainly, the idea of such a style no longer seems like the strange musical experimentation that it may once have done. What were the best death metal albums of 2008? A lot of people would point to tech records from bands such as Decrepit Birth or Origin

Anyway, I’ve got my opening ponderings on the genre as a whole out of the way. Suffice to say, the idea of a band playing tech death is no longer inherently interesting; there are a lot of them about. A new group referencing Gorguts sets themselves apart, because that band were unique. Instead of the now-standard widdly lead guitars and relentless drum chops, they offered us a twisted, organic mass of bizarre sound, which wasn’t so much “technical” as it was cathartic and unpredictable, making a metal band sound like an inexplicable swamp-beast that moulded itself into bizarre shapes that oughtn’t really exist. It could also be very, very painful to listen to. In a good way.

Obscura the band don’t really create something as unique with their compositions; they are not as freaky, and not as damn unpleasant as those on the album that give them their name. Generally Cosmogenesis is characterised by the hyperactive riffing and lead work that also pervades the work of the younger bands mentioned in the opening paragraph. But there is certainly more at work here. There are various moments that nod heavily towards Cynic, with the electric bass being given free rein to produce flamboyant solos on tracks such as Orbital Elements, and even the odd vocoder vocal line. They take several opportunities to really stretch the sound out and leave space for very impressive solo sections. There are plenty of more straightforward and melodic death metal riffs as well, which give the record plenty of light and shade, balancing neatly the death metals avant garde and its staple. Interestingly, there are the odd moments of folkish acoustic guitar meanderings, which tend to leave almost as soon as they arrive.

It’s all put together very well, and is well worth a listen for those that appreciate the style. The songs are well thought-out and have immediate appeal. The catchy melodeath-y style of Infinite Rotation, for example, is lifted to a whole new level of creativity by the sense you get that the band are capable of taking the composition in a different direction at the drop of a hat.

Not quite Gorguts but well worth listening to.

Killing Songs :
Orbital Elements, Infinite Rotation
Charles quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Obscura that we have reviewed:
Obscura - Omnivium reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Obscura - Retribution reviewed by Charles and quoted 85 / 100
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