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Obscura - "Omnivium" (CD)

Obscura - "Omnivium" CD cover image

"Omnivium" track listing:

1. Septuagint (7:18)
2. Vortex Omnivium (4:14)
3. Ocean Gateways (5:56)
4. Euclidean Elements (4:51)
5. Prismal Dawn (6:20)
6. Celestial Spheres (5:28)
7. Velocity (6:04)
8. A Transcendental Serenade (6:13)
9. Aevum (7:51)

Reviewed by on March 11, 2011

"'Omnivium' shows the members of Obscura continuing to hone their craft, and is easily one of the best albums that the technical death metal sub-genre has to offer."

With the release of the space themed “Omnivium,” German act Obscura has launched itself to the top of the technical death metal empire. From the absurdly complex and fast guitar work that the genre is known for, to more progressive and laid back segments, “Omnivium” has it all and then some. A more than worthy follow-up to the previous album “Cosmogenesis” (reviewed here), Osbcura’s latest continues in a similar vein and will likely be one of the highlight releases of 2011.

These songs show a massive range of influences, but each various type of sound is worked into the music with nary a glitch to be found. Abrupt shifts in style are smooth as silk, when the pummeling drum work or insane guitar acrobatics aren’t going on a destructive rampage. As would be expected, there are plenty of standard death metal growls to be found in homage to the style’s origins, but there are also throaty screams with more range and even clean vocals along the lines of what would be heard from Barren Earth or the like. Gang shouts and chants, acoustic guitar segments, and even some ‘70s rock all make their way into the music at one point or another.

“Prismal Dawn” in particular encapsulates a wide range of sounds into one single location, starting with acoustic guitar that heads into electric and psychedelic territory. The song is pretty stunning, playing a bit like a titanic clash between The Faceless and Opeth, with just a smidge of black metal atmosphere in places.

Metal fans who hate showy guitar work played for its own sake could even potentially fall in love with “Omnivium,” as the music generally moves towards a clear goal. While there is a bit of that “technical wankery” people like to rail against, the sound is always phenomenal and works within the overall context of the music.

Album closer “Aevum” is another interesting addition to the Obscura catalog that forcibly meshes two different styles together. The song is an odd combination of old school black metal, complete with the relentless blast beating, and technical death metal of the highest order. It’s a bit bizarre, but the incredibly tight musicianship somehow makes it work. Not that the song stays in that mode for the entire duration, however, as with every other track there are many changes and shifts to work through.

“Omnivium” shows the members of Obscura continuing to hone their craft, and is easily one of the best albums that the technical death metal sub-genre has to offer. Anyone with even a passing interest in the style should have the album on their wish list immediately.

Highs: Complex blend of technical death metal with many other influences

Lows: Some of the traditional death growls and blast beat sections just aren't as exciting as the more technical or progressive parts.

Bottom line: Among the best albums that technical death metal has to offer, with a variety of progressive elements thrown in for good measure.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

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)