Review Summary: A progressive metal masterpiece with elements of various genres that, when coupled with the undeniable instrumental prowess and the amazing vocal performance, makes for an enjoyable roller coaster of technicality and variety.
To describe Oblivion's 2013 debut Called To Rise as purely a death metal album displays a huge degree of ignorance as the band's music contains so much more depth than that. Formed from the ashes of the old lineup of All Shall Perish following the departure of Ben Orum this is an eleven song display of nothing more than pure aggression with more musical depth than many bands can find in their entire discography. Scattered throughout this release are elements of progressive music and black metal with riffing clearly influenced by the thrash metal bands that dominated the metal scene in the 1980's, all with a fine death metal coat that it wears proudly and anchors all of these styles down with and gives it one solid focus. To end the debate, yes this is a death metal release but with a huge amount of variety to its sound and elements of many other genres that makes for one ass-kicking release.
The instrumental prowess on display here is something to be marveled at with some hyper fast and technical guitar playing driving the album forward at a fantastic pace. The guitar work is handled tastefully and is not the complete ear rape that much "technical" metal turns out to be and actually sounds rather amazing on this release. Reigns Of Fire is a great example as to how the guitars on this release sound with its swift transition from the highly technical riffing to a more thrash-influenced style of chord based riffing that serves as something of an interlude. The guitars are also written in a highly progressive manner leaving the listener wondering how they got from A to B. The transitions on this release are ingeniously written so that every riff flows into the next one without disrupting the flow of the release and helping for this album to just feel like one roller coaster ride and a solid whirlwind of lightning fast riffs that is guaranteed to take you off your feet. The solo to Reigns Of Fire is also a brilliant example as to how good the soloing on this album is with a high degree of melody to it instead of the solo feeling like an excuse for Bay Are thrasher Ted O'Neill to shred as fast as he can.
The drumming on this release is intense and varied with the usual blast beats being the main course for this release but also a number of slower beats that never feel lifeless or devoid of creativity. In terms of variety this may well be right up there as one of the most varied extreme metal albums in recent years. Cancer Of Wraiths shows straight away how quickly this album can change styles from the opening beat with a fast lead fill over the top before diving headfirst into some quick blast beats before slowing down a little for a thrashier section and some rapid flurries of double bass work. Following this comes the best riff of the song which is a much slower and much more chuggy one which serves as the chorus riff. Cancer Of Wraiths is probably the best song on the album with its wide array of styles found in the riffs and the constantly changing speeds and who could forget that marvelous slower section toward the end of the song. Multiverse follows Cancer Of Wraiths and is a more interesting track with a clean opening that lasts quite a long time but does not become boring due to the atmosphere it creates before a quick drum fill leads into a ridiculously fast tremolo picked riff and then a beautiful fast-paced thrash interlude riff before the tremolo picking begins again. The vocal work on this song is some of the best found on the album with the raspy growls akin to a melodic death metal band, the higher pitched shrieks that would sound at home on a black metal album and the lower tones. Nick Vasallo is among the most varied vocalists in extreme metal and really adds a lot to this release, roaring his lyrics about fantasy kingdoms and lands buried beneath the Earth with so much conviction.
The 2013 debut of Oblivion is an album to look out for as it is perhaps the best release of the year so far with a lot of passion behind the writing and elements of every extreme metal style seamlessly blended into its death metal core. For an example as to how this album sounds listen to the incredible progressive metal masterpiece that is Multiverse or the long but amazing closer oblivion Part 2. This release has so many different faces to it that make for a varied and interesting thrill ride that will stay with you long after you hear it and although it may seem premature, this is already a potential candidate for album of the year...