"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Obscura - "Cosmogenesis" (CD)

Obscura - "Cosmogenesis" CD cover image

"Cosmogenesis" track listing:

1. Anticosmic Overload
2. Choir of Spirits
3. Universe Momentum
4. Incarnated
5. Orbital Elements
6. Desolate Spheres
7. Infinite Rotation
8. Noosphere
9. Cosmogenesis
10. Centric Flow

Reviewed by on June 6, 2009

"The compassion the band plays with is undeniable and furthers them into the realm of wanting to bring about truly thoughtful music."

A nicely varied style is brought to the table with "Cosmogenesis" and Obscura is certainly able to bring together a gelling of sounds that strikes a chord within the listener. They are capable of bringing a rather tangled sound into the open that completely floors you with its seeming complexities, yet the well put together aspect of the album gives it the consistency it needs to be something that catches your attention. The compassion the band plays with is undeniable and furthers them into the realm of wanting to bring about truly thoughtful music.

Firstly, when investigating their riff patterns, one can see a complex approach as they layer the music, with the bass nicely underlying how the rest of the music sounds. This shows similarities to bands like Cynic and Death in the most progressive moments, although there seems to be a little more of a straight out need to pummel to be found here. A degree of abrasiveness is thus added to their style, although don’t let that stop you from enjoying the warped sounds they create.

If the band pushed their thoughts into further wackiness we might even see a greater inventiveness arise as a result. Regardless, there are enough twists and turns to keep you wildly entertained as Obscura can generate a bright style to invigorate the mind. "Cosmogenesis" is for people that like to straight ahead headbang along with a thinking aspect to their metal and this makes for an interesting listen. For some of the more compelling material on the album, check out “Noospheres,” which features subdued moments to go along with the complex dynamics the band are able to put forth.

Overall, the album is one to check out for fans of the more progressive pastures of progressive death metal and goes recommended highly to these fans in particular.

Highs: Complexity and the musicianship.

Lows: Doesn't push boundaries enough.

Bottom line: Great progressive death metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Reviewed by on January 24, 2009

"Each track is nearly perfectly layered together into a complete maelstrom of force that should make it onto the must have list of technical death metal fans."

Bands within the death and black metal genres are usually characterized by extremely rough early releases that get progressively better as they find their sound and nail down their production techniques. Despite this overriding trend, Obscura has somehow catapulted themselves well past all of their competition into the highest tier of the technical death metal field with only their sophomore release. Then again, their prowess probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering the line-up now includes musicians from such acts as Necrophagist and Pestilence. If that wasn’t enough, adding in Tymon from Cynic in a guest spot should seal the deal on “Cosmogenesis,” which undoubtedly will be hailed as one of the great death metal albums of the year.

“The Anticosmic Overload” immediately shows off both the power and technical prowess of “Cosmogensis,” with fast, frantic, and complex dual guitars racing around each other in intricate patterns of truly cosmic proportions. One of the best qualities of the album also makes an early appearance when the bass shows up high enough in the mix to be clearly heard even when the guitars are raging. The bass playing doesn’t just complement the other instruments but rather adds something integral that would seriously detract from the music if it were removed. The vocals start off in a more modern black metal style, somewhere between a scream and a growl that is absolutely seething with fury and strength, and then switch to the more traditional deep death growl that has less range but more weight. Each of the songs features a good mixture of the two to prevent the growls and shrieks from ever getting monotonous or blending in together.

New twists and variations are revealed in the second track, “Choirs of Spirits,” when distorted clean vocals appear unexpectedly and are filtered with some sort of echo to sound like a voice bouncing off of a satellite far off in the cosmos. The end of the song again shows how closely knit the bass is to the music as it plays off the guitars to give off a sick revolving feel of a planet spinning wildly off of its axis. Every now and again during the album there will be brief display of guitar virtuosity when all of the notes are played at a very high pitch and at an extremely fast speed, much like what might be heard in a power metal act. These more showy moments are usually kept firmly in check and almost always work within the overall melodies so that they don’t take control or subtract from the brutality of the music.

“Universe Momentum” starts off with one such showy moment before the guitars completely drop all distortion for a brief time and instead go for more of a folk orientation to work beside some whispered lyrics. The peace is shattered by the requisite heavy scream as the guitars go back into insane mode once more. It’s a trick that has been done quite a few times before, but it’s done so well that it should still get the appropriate head banging response. Some of the musician’s non-metal influences start to shine through with more force on “Desolate Spheres” when a two minute re-tread of everything that had already come before on the album suddenly transforms into an incredibly daring composition that can only be described as jazzy and steamy.

By the time “Infinite Rotation” shows up, the listener may need a break because their face has been smashed in with a spiked gauntlet and then caressed by a silk sheet so many times in a row that a breather becomes necessary to be able to adequately digest everything going on. The members of Obscura haven’t pulled the final rabbit out of their hat yet, as even more magic is to be made in the final songs of the album. “Noospheres” starts out with an atmospheric and toned down opening common to horror themed black metal and then moves into the more traditionally heavy guitar parts. Rather than keeping up the technicality of the previous songs it instead packs a heavy punch of melody and mood, which can be a welcome change after so much mind bending guitar prowess.

“Cosmogenesis” succeeds where others have failed because it doesn’t stick exclusively to a barrage of sheer brutality or a never ending show of excessive technical skills. The album regularly dips into many different kinds of melodies to provide a much more well rounded experience. Each track is nearly perfectly layered together into a complete maelstrom of force that should make it onto the must have list of technical death metal fans. The only question is how will Obscura possibly top this with their next album?

Highs: Top-notch production, extreme technicality, brutal as hell, and a good dose of melody

Lows: There's almost too much to digest at once, the album may take multiple listens just to get everything out of it

Bottom line: A masterpiece of technical death metal with a good deal of non-metal influences that provides a very satisying musical experience

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)