Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Best Tech-Death Album in Recent Memory
Avernus | Weatherford, TX, USA | 04/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I knew this album would be something unusual just because of the stellar reviews it has accumulated, but I really didn't expect anything amazing. I expected another death metal band just barley emerging out of the general rehashed blandness of the genre. I couldn't have been more wrong.
'Obscura' is a completely original and demonic effort from the tech-death scene. You might think to yourself that even tech-death is getting maybe a little stale, lacking anything that Cryptopsy or Suffocation hasn't done already. This belief would be well warranted, but nonetheless, inaccurate thanks to 'Obscura'. This slab of demonic dissonace is even unique in the world of tech-death. I have yet to hear an death metal album as completely absorbing as this one is. Several times I have popped 'Obscura' into my player hoping to only listen to maybe a track or two, and realizing later that I had just listened to the whole album. Yes, it is THAT gripping.
All the usual stuff is here, the abrupt time changes, the staggering drum beats, and the relentless, dischordant madness, but what puts this album head and shoulders above the rest is the fact that it is actuall very well written. Everything contributes to the awesome atmosphere that 'Obscura' achieves, and everything is perfectly timed, avoiding repetiveness. Every riff from start to finish is just so down-right demented and ugly that I can not help listening to this constantly, even almost a month after I purchased it.
If you are looking for something wickedly original and entertaining, then click purchase immediately. A wonderful album even surpassing the greatness of Cryptopsy's 'None So Vile'. An absorbing and relentless masterpiece."
(Black?) Metal Monstrosity
J. McHenry | Detroit, MI | 04/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe I'm crazy, but this thing has Black Metal overtones. The Math Metal is there, but the tortured vocals (which are really a cut above) take this into the spiritual realm - don't laugh! It actually sounds like a story being told - granted, by a violently insane person. I thought I'd heard it all in the Metal world, but this is a real revelation. Also, the guitar parts are actually interesting enough that you might want to learn them - take that, you anonymous generic Death Metal zombies!!"
General Zombie | the West | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the continuing tech-metal explosion, it's a true tragedy that "Obscura" is long out of print. Though already a fairly legendary release among afficianodos, were "Obscura" readily available it would possibly earn a deserved reputation as one of the most outlandish and distinctive tech-metal albums ever released. To be perfectly blunt, I've listened to a lot of tech-metal in my day, but I haven't heard much that sounds like this.
Extreme metal is, of course, known for being harsh and abrasive, but Gorguts take this tendency to another level here. Truthfully, many tech and extreme metal bands are not really actively discordant, they merely play very fast, very loud and with little regard for conventional melody. "Obscura", however, actually attacks the ears, nastily expanding upon the death-jazz formula pioneered in the early 90s: piercing, avant-garde melodies, unconventional chords and shrieking harmonics overlay shifting, asymmetric time signatures while the band effortlessly leaps from extremely fast to dirge-slow and everything in between. The guitar/bass interplay is uniquely abrasive, with the prominent, slap bass fighting with the sometimes monstrous, sometimes atmospheric guitars to create a discordant wall of noise, in contrast to the meaty but relatively clean sound of most metal. The drumming is somewhat more conventional, combining traditional DM blasting and double bass with a jazzy snare work and a Meshuggah-like mechanistic approach. Vocals are perhaps the weak point, as Lemay employs a competent but fairly run-of-the-mill death growl. (He's fine, but sometimes lacks the passion and agony the music demands.) All this combines to make a brutal noise cocktail derived from typical DM, but nevertheless almost completely distinct from most examples of the genre. Gorguts, in particular, display a proclivity for slow, doomy atmosphere where the unconventional guitar styles are put to best use.
Interestingly, the song structures here a somewhat less convoluted than you'd often here in tech-death, with fewer riffs and more repetition. This is ultimately for the best, since the bizarre instrumental interplay deserves to be examined in depth, rather than glossed over and forgotten. Overall, this is actually more immediately memorable than most tech-death, partially because it's so unique, partially because Gorguts actually utilize some eerie, alien melodies from time to time. Nevertheless, this a frightfully dense album.
It's difficult to choose standouts, as everything here is quite compelling, and I haven't fully absorbed it all. (I'd usually wait, but at 60 minutes, to do so will take a long, long time.) Most obviously, the title track is a fierce opener, immediately leaping into the howling guitars and spastic drumming that define the album while including a slow, grinding break and weird, tapped melody later on to provide hints of memorability. The closer, "Sweet Silence", is an instrumental, and another particularly noteworthy track, with a few more hints of melody atop the bruising riffs and popping basslines. Though not one of my favorites, most listeners will immediately notice "Clouded", an incredibly slow, seemingly endless dirge which gradually pounds the listener into submission.
Sadly, I fear this review has given you little sense of just how remarkable a tech-death album this is. Anyway, any serious fan of tech-metal needs to put up the cash and check it out. (Or, better yet, buy a copy of "From Wisdom to Hate". It's not as good, but it's cheaper, shorter and somewhat toned down while still similar, making it easier to absorb.)
Edit: Commenter CotFS says that this is available on iTunes, if you want to get it via legitimate means."