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Obsidian - Into Oblivion

Into Oblivion
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 04 April 2017, 3:06 AM

Today, I get to present something a bit more local for our Canadian readers, and that is Vancouver’s local death metal band OBSIDIAN, and their sophomore album "Into Oblivion." To preface it for anyone curious, a band that I found somewhat comparable is MISERY SIGNALS, both of which have similar song structure style and somewhat similar sounds at times, as well as similar pacing for some of OBSIDIAN’s songs (a little under half I would say).  Another thing I will preface this review by saying is that, personally, I am not a fan of the vocals. I think they do not match the style the band seems to be striving towards, which in turn kind of detracts from it as a whole. This is just personal opinion though, but others may like it. I just try to remain as critical and unbiased as possible. Without further ado, I will dive right in.

Opening with “High Crimes and Treason”, the album begins off very sludgey, as in down tuned with variance in chords not being too extreme. Continuing from this the bass and rhythm guitar during the verses starts off a bit bland and core-ish (think 0-0-0-0 … 0-0 and so on). However the lead guitar creates some solid variance in its riffs during the choruses. Sadly the bridge is in the same manner, with the main variance being a more prominent drum beat and a brief stretch of a more disharmonious sound. Honestly, the best way to describe what I am getting at in this song is that it is a bit bland if I am truly honest. There are moments where the guitars and drums shine a bit more prominently, but otherwise there is a somewhat severe lack of variance, and as I said, the most common riffs are the 0-0-0 chords with drum beats that match the pace of these chords. Overall, the song starts the album off rather poorly. Following this is “Trouble Light Warning”, which seemingly follows a similar structure. While the verses follow the same sludgey structure as the previous songs, I will be much more lenient on the choruses as they are much more varied and they have a solid riff, as well as a bridge and solo that sounds much more noticeably different from the song. My comments on the solo, though, are that it was ok. It felt a bit lacking if I am honest. This song has some of the same weak points as the previous, but again at least it had more variance to help it and a solid solo to pull you in.

Thankfully though, this all changes with the namesake song of the album “Into Oblivion”. Opening in a manner that is much more technically complex and interesting than the previous songs, the song starts off well for itself. During the verses, there is still a somewhat sludgey sound but in a good way. Here it is employed well among well varied riffs and a very strong drum beat. Throughout the song there are some very good riffs, great drum beats, a much more solid song structure and progression, and overall a much better flow to the song. My only complaint is the brevity of the solo, the duration of which feels rather shortened and the solo doesn’t make much of an impression. Overall though, a very good song that makes you second guess your initial assumptions from the first two songs. The next song, “Among the Masses”, does the same thing. Opening with a great riff and beat, the song does kind of fall off a bit during the verse which somewhat reverts to before, though still showing a greater degree of variance. The choruses follow suit with the opening verse and beat, the likes of which are prominent in each chorus. However, what I most want to bring attention to is the bridge and solo of the song. Taking it a notch slower and focusing on melody, the song most shines here really. The progression of the guitar here is extremely well done, and I would have loved to have heard it go on much longer or play a more prominent part. I kind of find it a shame the melodic focus of the bridge in this song had no part in the previous songs, as focusing more on progression and melody would have helped the first two songs at the very least.

The next song I will mention is “War Torn” which I am a bit torn about (no pun intended). On one hand the song has some sick riffs and beats in the choruses and at the opening, but during the choruses it returns again to the aforementioned rather bland song structure that is a bit core-ish. The bridge, though, is rather interesting. It gains a more gradual beat to it, in both drums and riffs, that suit it very well and helps blend the djent/core-ish sound with the technical complexity that draws you into the music. The final song I will mention is “The Debt That All Men Pay”, which has a much more sombering and gradual sound to it. Featuring a pretty regular pace best described as a doppler effect (ramping up then fading out) the song is very well structured really. It is a nice change of pace from the rest of the album, and I would recommend checking this song out for a change of pace.

Overall, the band isn’t bad. If I am honest, they aren’t astounding or ground breaking, but potential exists in their music. It felt like they were trying to do multiple things at once which, when taken as a whole, makes it seem sloppy at times. However, being that this band is so new (formed in 2013) I feel like time to settle into a style will greatly help them and that they will find a sound that works for them. Regardless, this album contains both positives and negatives that leave it in a sort of middle ground limbo, and so my recommendation is that you have to listen for yourself to decide what you think.

Songwriting 5
Originality 6
Memorability 6
Production 6

3 Star Rating

1. High Crimes and Treason
2. Trouble Light Warning (Feat. Josh Von Hardenberg)
3. Into Oblivion
4. Among the Masses
5. Last Goodbye
6. War Torn
7. No Words
8. Innocence
9. The Debt That All Men Pay
10. Fractured
11. High Water Anxiety
12. Time To Burn
Aurélia Falaize - Bass
Stefan Stass - Drums
Jason Campbell - Vocals, Guitar
Daniel Clark - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Record Label: HammerDown Records


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Edited 29 September 2020

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