Review Summary: Obscura isn’t as obscure as they once were, but that doesn't stop them from releasing another quality technical death metal album.
Back during Retribution
and even on Cosmogenesis
, Obscura’s bass heavy sound and progressive songwriting had a very unique feeling to them, and in a sense still do. However, today we have Omnivium
and Obscura seems to have done little more than slowly refine their songwriting into a more and more proficient level of odd but well-sculpted technical death metal. In the scope of the entire technical death metal genre, Obscura has a sound to them very much its own, but within their discography change seems to be far from a priority.
Now lack of change does not equate to low quality, and I’m well aware of that. However it’s difficult to justify rating this any higher than one would rate Cosmogenesis
which essentially is superior to this album in almost every field. Omnivium
is not without its own merits though, with plenty of what Obscura does best such as overamplified bass and groundshaking technicality. Unfortunately, they do not venture too much further past this. Vocals, riffs and beats remain largely the same albeit with some softer sounding passages (one of which opens the album). The vocal explosions backed by furious bass riffs played along a blast beat is getting a little old, especially considering that none of them have really changed all that much, and if at all have been dumbed down a tad. Everything works, but that’s about all there is to say.
Comparisons aside, Omnivium
in itself is a great album. The technicality and songwriting skill has most definitely carried over from their other two albums and shows a level of improvement in some cases. Guitar riffs are still off-the-wall insane and bass riffs are jacked up so you’d have to be hard of hearing not to identify them. What the album does best is refine a sound that is already well crafted and original and turn it even more into a unique and polished version of itself. On one hand, the production feels much more organic than the previous two, which can go both ways for listeners. These fellows still love their astronomy but have thrown in an equally prominent theme of spirit and transcendence perhaps displayed best on “Velocity” or “Aevum” on Omnivium
. Solos still showcase the immense playing ability of each individual member and the songs in themselves are a feat in their own right and are up to snuff with past releases and may be the one area Obscura has truly polished itself undoubtedly on Omnivium
. Steffen Kummerer is still head of the vocal department and decided to throw some spacey cleans onto the album and are a nice little addition but overall his vocals are the same deep lows as they were on Cosmogenesis
offers plenty more Obscura, but if they want to stay in the game, they’re going to have to shake it up at some point.
For many, Omnivium
will be in their contender spot for album of the year already. Others already have it checked off for disappointments of the year. In itself, Obscura’s latest outing cannot be called bad or lackluster, but can certainly be called a step down from their last album. Obscura still has yet to disappoint, perhaps because they’re not willing to take that chance and stray from their comfort zone in technical death metal songwriting. Omnivium
is a must-buy for Obscura fans and is as good an entry point as any for those not familiar with their work, but owners of Cosmogenesis
may want to think twice before purchasing.