[1st January 2013]
01. Oblivion Part 1: The Chant Of Tyrants
02. Black Veils Of Justice
03. Between Suns Of Light
04. Binary Souls
06. Canon 1 In E Minor
08. Reigns In Fire
09. Cancer Of Wraiths
11. Oblivion Part 2: Infinite Descent
12. Black Veils Of Justice (Instrumental Version)
13. Shred: I. Multiverse (String Orchestra)
14. Shred: II. Long Deaf Hate (String Orchestra)
Many metal genres do as they say on the tin; doom metal evokes a sense of doom, metalcore combines elements of metal and hardcore, and technical death metal…well, that gets pretty technical. Regardless of the band, a listener can safely assume that any member of a tech-death band are pretty competent at their instruments, and the guys in Oblivion certainly fit that category. Their début album, Called To Rise, blends together the sounds of many death metal bands, ranging from Obscura and Origin through to Suffocation and Immolation, which for many will sound like familiar turf to tread.
After an eeerie introduction involving a zealous male spoken word piece and wailing baritone chanting, the band get down to business on “Black Veils Of Justice”, a blistering track chock full of rapid guitar work and smoothly varied drumming, topped with a varied harsh vocal range dominated by guttural growls. Nick Vasallo‘s range is fairly impressive, his hoarse highs used tastefully to contrast the grunts. “Between Suns Of Light” continues in a similar fashion, showcasing the band’s accomplished sense of tempo change within a song structure, a catchy melodic section at the end rounding off one of the stronger tracks.
After that, the band start to experiment with their formula, dropping in some deathcore-style breakdowns and momentary bass noodling in “Binary Souls” and “Reclamation”, the latter technique more welcome than the former. A 2-and-half-minute interlude in the form of a tribute to virtuoso classical music breaks up the monotony, although it’s not long before three similar tracks follow in quick succession. “Annunaki” accentuates the above tempo-changed reference, an absurdly fast technical blast crashing into a breakdown-wall as Vasallo’s grunts grind to a near-halt. The solo on “Reigns In Fire” is another of the redeeming features, at least until the strongest song on the album kicks in. “Multiverse” is easily the most accomplished track, blending in piano and black metal elements with the tech-death to great effect. The outro, to contrast this, is a bizarre affair involving a return of the baritone chanting and a whimpering male voice on top of reverb-drenched guitar and plodding drums.
While the individual components of this album are enjoyable and well-executed, somehow piecing them together means something intangible is lost along the way. Multiple spins result in favourites emerging too quickly, and the urge to just listen to those ones overpowers the general atmosphere of the album. While “Black Veils Of Justice” and “Multiverse” are excellent bookends to the album, the meat of the album is too middle-of-the-road to hold attention for very long. The bonus orchestral tracks, despite proving that Vasallo is also a talented composer, also do little to help.
If technical death metal is in your regular genres to explore, then Called To Rise will no doubt impress, but it lacks the staying power that would otherwise lift the album to the upper echelons of the genre. The talent is clearly there and given time to mature, Oblivion will certainly deliver an opus. This, however, is not it.
Called To Rise is out now and you can pick it up from Oblivion’s Bandcamp.