Omnivium review by Obscura

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  • Released: Mar 29, 2011
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (51 votes)
Obscura: Omnivium
0

Sound — 8
Wow, what a sound. Obscura are an ironically prominent technical/progressive death metal band that are special for good reason... because they're actually good. Although they are almost always compared to Necrophagist and its not hard to see why, there are a myriad of differences that set them apart.

One immediately obvious trait is that Obscura are actually melodic. Although keeping to the 'death' part of their genre relatively closely, there are many moments in 'Omnivium' which rival Cynic's Traced In Air for their melody. Prime example, the opening track 'Septuagint': A harmonically complex acoustic intro and outro, a 'Battery' style epic guitar lead and a 'soft' jazz, cleanly sung bridge. There's still the tech death staple of blast beats though, but this album is one of the few cases where blast beats are used tastefully in death metal. The acoustic guitar has a few reprises here and there, such as in 'Prismal Dawn' which is incredibly Opeth like, using neoclassical, dissonant melodies and setting the tone for the rest of the song.

Track 3 by comparison is monumentally heavy. Epically lethargic but crushingly tight musicianship and a solo to put the biggest of Steve Vai imitators to shame. And there are so many variations of so many riffs, that really keeps it consistent and not too OTT.

Generally this album is something to admire, or at least respect for its complexity and diverse song-writing. If you really enjoy technical metal then there is no way this album will bore you. And the solo's, Christ, the solo's.. face melt material right there.

Production wise, there may be a few snags though, mostly with the drums. I don't know about you but that overall kit tone is generally horrible. Most of it sounds like it was borrowed from a second hand shop and just thrown into the studio, but that's just a personal complaint.

Lyrics — 8
Steffen Kummerer (a guy who was in a band called Hell-fart) has a fairly varied vocal range. On Omnivium, there are low guttural growls, Emperor-esque screams and chanted/layered clean vocals that appear during clean sections or seriously melodic bits. A good range indeed and they work flawlessly into the songs (and thank fudge, they got rid of the vocoder).

The giant egg.. thing on the album cover probably gives away the fact that this album is about space. There's really not that much to say, the lyrics come off as intellectual but sound a lot like 'burble burble' in death metal. That's one of the things that I don't get: Why do new technical death metal bands focus on space when they can't even properly the message through the vocals? The list grows: Obscura, Arkaik, Origin, Brain Drill (recent album), Anomalous, Lost Soul etc.

Overall Impression — 8
Obscura remind me a lot of Pestilence during 'Spheres' but with added Steve Vai/Cynic. Its a pretty immense release, although it might come off as more of a technical exercise rather than artistic expression (or in other words, we did it cuz we can, not because we have to) to people with a low opinion on technical metal. Even so, Omnivium is one of the most promising new releases of 2011.

Songs to look out for: 'Septuagint', 'Vortex Omnivium', 'Ocean Gateways', 'Euclidean Elements', 'Prismal Dawn', 'Transcendental Serenade', 'Aevum'.

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    metal_cobs
    This review is awful. "...it might come off as more of a technical exercise rather than artistic expression" No.
    Lion_Slicer
    metal_cobs wrote: This review is awful. "...it might come off as more of a technical exercise rather than artistic expression" No.
    "to people with a low opinion on technical metal." You missed the qualifying half of the sentence, dude. I thought it was a good review, actually talking about the pros and cons instead of the fanboy rave or the stupid, bland track-by-track description so revered on UG. Obscura is easily one of my favorite technical death metal bands. They don't skimp on the incendiary playing but actually focus on melody and flow so that every song actually sounds like it's own musical statement. The lyrics on Cosmogenesis were surprisingly philosophical as well. All considered, this is now at the top of my 'must buy' list.
    k3v1n shr3dz
    that overall kit tone is generally horrible. Most of it sounds like it was borrowed from a second hand shop and just thrown into the studio
    NO NO NO! Those are some of the best drum sounds ever recorded. The tone of each drum is perfect. They sound like REAL DRUMS, not CANNONS. The clarity is stunning, revealing the subtlest of articulations. There are DYNAMICS, unlike most modern triggered, quantized, drum-replaced metal.
    Shinsen88
    So is the bass still really prominent on this album? That was one of the things that, for me at least, really set them apart from other current bands in this genre.
    qrEE
    "Obscura are an ironically prominent technical/progressive death metal band that are special for good reason... because they're actually good." This seriously just said that Technical Death Metal and Progressive Death Metal, as genres, are NOT good, but Obscura is the exception. It literally said that the difference between this band and most bands in that genre is that they are good. That is pathetic. Most Technical Death Metal releases are very well made, and very well played, and very good music. And Progressive Death Metal includes Opeth, one of the greatest bands ever. So I find it offensive.
    Unholy Crusada
    I've heard of this band before. I know they have Necrophagist's ex-guitarist and drummer, so I suppose I'll check it out. Probably pick up Cosmogenisis while I'm at it...
    krvolok
    The statement itself show your lack of knowledge concerning the progressive/tech death metal *scene
    corrda00
    "Songs to look out for: 'Septuagint', 'Vortex Omnivium', 'Ocean Gateways', 'Euclidean Elements', 'Prismal Dawn', 'Transcendental Serenade', 'Aevum'." Isnt that EVERY song?
    krvolok
    qrEE wrote: "Obscura are an ironically prominent technical/progressive death metal band that are special for good reason... because they're actually good." This seriously just said that Technical Death Metal and Progressive Death Metal, as genres, are NOT good, but Obscura is the exception. It literally said that the difference between this band and most bands in that genre is that they are good. That is pathetic. Most Technical Death Metal releases are very well made, and very well played, and very good music. And Progressive Death Metal includes Opeth, one of the greatest bands ever. So I find it offensive.
    The statement itself show your lack of knowledge concerning the progressive/tech death metal.Because there has an outbreak of just pure wankery like Brain Drill and a half of million other bands like them.And the reason why he said "because they're actually good" is because they are good and dont do that mindless 20 sweeps per second stuff.
    Shredninja
    I just heard the cover of Concerto from the deluxe version of this cd, pretty awesome!
    XxXMafiaMXxX
    this album is one of the best progressive\tech albbums ive ever heared in years hands down.. the reviewer is aweful
    Loki_37
    The worst thing about the review is that there's no EpiExplorer comment underneath it saying, "just more crap metalcore" Anyways, I'm only through three songs, but wow, pretty amazing album. I can really feel an Opeth vibe coming off a lot of the guitar work, but probably more experimental with the vocals, and overall not afraid to keep it heavy.
    Cambyses
    k3v1n shr3dz wrote: that overall kit tone is generally horrible. Most of it sounds like it was borrowed from a second hand shop and just thrown into the studio NO NO NO! Those are some of the best drum sounds ever recorded. The tone of each drum is perfect. They sound like REAL DRUMS, not CANNONS. The clarity is stunning, revealing the subtlest of articulations. There are DYNAMICS, unlike most modern triggered, quantized, drum-replaced metal.
    lol
    heero22
    Its funny, I just bought this album like 6 months ago, never listened to it fully either, and now I am looking at reviews of it. Anyways, I'm definitely not a fan of Death Metal of any sorts, I'm mostly a progressive metal, metalcore, hardcore fan who slightly dabbles in other types of metal, but when I saw it in my local music store I thought it said for fans of Animals As Leaders. Anyway the point I'm trying to get to is that by a happy accident I now have a really great Progressive Death Metal album.
    TheZombieRitual
    Shinsen88 wrote: So is the bass still really prominent on this album? That was one of the things that, for me at least, really set them apart from other current bands in this genre.
    Kind of. From what I heard of the album, Jeroen's bass seems to be not as loud as in Cosmogenesis. You can still hear his bass pretty well though.
    Human371
    Still looking it up Epi, but if you want to get me to check something out, mention Cynic and Opeth in the review
    matt360
    i find that this album is like retribution + cosmogenisis + darkness. good mix of their other albums and added heaviness that makes it sound epic.
    beanerlove44
    I had just bought Cosmogenisis about a month ago, and I can't wait for their new one! I thought about learning a couple songs on guitar, looked up some tabs, and quit playing guitar that same day. Haha
    mr2METALthnLIFE
    loved the excellent grammar. also i was disappointed with the album, cosmogenesis had more memorable riffs.
    cotton3434
    *er, I can't really judge in regard to Epi's reviews in general, actually, as this is the only one I've read recently. So make that "this review" instead of "Epi's reviews/they"
    cotton3434
    krvolok wrote: metal_cobs wrote: This review is awful. "...it might come off as more of a technical exercise rather than artistic expression" No. Well actually when you look at the endless line of fanboy,semi-fanboy ten-ten-teners and generally misguided reviews,EpiExplorer's are among the most sober for a lack of an expression.This one included,of course.
    Agreed, Epi's reviews beat the majority, even if they could be better. They serve their purpose, at the very least - unlike all of the 10-10-10ers. May check this out... although I'm pretty sure their vocals will annoy me due to their being mostly unintelligible, as is the case with most tech-death metal bands, it seems.
    RiffYourFaceOff
    I listened to it twice but can't really form an opinion on it yet. It's a lot to take in with one or two listens.
    krvolok
    metal_cobs wrote: This review is awful. "...it might come off as more of a technical exercise rather than artistic expression" No.
    Well actually when you look at the endless line of fanboy,semi-fanboy ten-ten-teners and generally misguided reviews,EpiExplorer's are among the most sober for a lack of an expression.This one included,of course.