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Oberst - Paradise Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 January 2020, 4:28 AM

The Oslo-based Hardcore/Metal act OBERST “blends their many influences seamlessly into a unique sound, be it Hardcore, Post Metal, Progressive Metal and Rock. Their huge, warm and atmospheric riffs meet hectic, catchy elements driven by intense and at times manic vocals. The concept of “Paradise” deals with themes of the pre-apocalyptic sort, and tells of escape from dystopia and utopia alike, friendship, hate and love. From the band members’ viewpoint, the record is a glance at the current state of the world and how it has been the last five years. The story revolves around a group of people, fleeing from their assailants. Sickened by the state of their world, they construct a vessel called the “Dreambeast” and attempt a journey to a new one.” “Paradise” contains ten tracks.

“Vagabonds” leads off the album. The vocals are harsh but the music contains a lot of melody. They remind me in some ways of DESPITE EXILE. The melodies are strong and out there for your enjoyment. “A Stranger Place Pt. 2” opens with a Hard Rocking riff and some energy, fueled by raging vocals and some musicality. Some of the structures the guitars build are fascinating and I find this is indeed a perfect blend of many different genres. “Fiends” features some thick vocals and an odd guitar sound, until the chorus, then it breathes life. The music has an odd combination of Hardcore vocals but with melody lines that are easy to follow. “In the Embers” opens with a heavy hook and a slower pace. An element of despondence starts to creep in.

“Dreambeast” is a bit darker and the guitars move in unconventional ways. The passage before the chorus is pure beauty. These guys are innovators for sure. I don’t think I have heard anything quite like it before. “Snakes” features some off guitar progressions under a bed of vile vocals. It’s a short track that covers ground quickly. “Goddess” features a little more in-your-face guitar riff that is complex, but simple at the same time. The semi-clean vocals in the chorus provide a little break from the intensity of the previous tracks. “Parting” opens with a clean and easy listening guitar riff and here is where the Hard Rock influence comes into play. This song is much more linear, though the vocals are still those shrill screams that, over the course of the album, have grown annoying for me.

“No Home” opens with some Post-Rock type elements and is a slower song where the melody is there for the taking. Take away the vocals and it’s a very pretty song, indeed, and probably my favorite on the album. “Pillar” is an interesting closer, with more of those raging vocals and odd chord progressions. One thing is for sure, this band is a perfect meld of many different styles of Metal into a singular unit. The music is complex and takes odd twists and turns. This tells me the band is experienced and willing to experiment. My only knock are the vocals. I get that at its core this is Hardcore, but varying them even a little or changing it up with some cleans would help the album flex more. They are just too intense for me as they are.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Vagabonds
2. A Stranger Place Pt. 2
3. Fiends
4. In the Embers
5. Dreambeast
6. Snakes
7. Goddess
8. Parting
9. No Home
10. Pillar
Tarjei Kristoffersen – Guitar/Vocals
Dennis Estensen – Guitar
Johan Fredrik Bolli – Drums
Joakim Karlsen – Bass
Record Label: Indie Recordings


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