Perhaps no subgenre of metal varies in quality as much as technical death metal. For every beautifully composed and tastefully written display of savage art, there are four releases of self-indulgent guitar noodling.
Obscura’s previous release, 2009's Cosmogenesis, fell much closer to the latter category than the former. On Omnivium, however, Obscura have created an album that, while more challenging than its predecessor, is also more streamlined, focused, and artfully crafted.
Obscura’s influences are blatantly obvious. The stirring fretless bass tone and often jarring, chunky guitar work are pure Atheist, while the vocoder murmurs and ambient touches reek of Cynic. As a result, Obscura’s phenomenally adept crew—which includes former members of Necrophagist and Pestilence—often sound like they were pulled straight from the early '90s. It makes for an album that is superficially derivative, but is performed and constructed so well as to still come across fresh and exciting.
To its credit, Omnivium never feels as impenetrable as the works of fellow tech-death virtuosos Gorguts (after whose 1998 album Obscura are named), yet the album is deep enough to improve subtly with each listen. Still, even at its best, Obscura's latest never wows like the classics of the subgenre. This band that once seemed destined for mediocrity has a made a leaps and bounds here, but they still haven't achieved true greatness. CLARKE READ
Check out "Septuagint" off, Omnivium, below: