Obscura – Cosmogenesis Review

Originally written by Jordan Campbell

Quite honestly, it’s tough to swallow another helping of technical death metal at this point. Everything from the band name (come on, guys), the computer-generated cover art, and the maddingly derivative opening riff just screams, “enough already!” Unavoidably, the over-saturation of this subgenre has greatly detracted from the impact of Cosmogenesis‘ detonation. If this had been released 3 years ago, the tech-nerd Ewoks would be raising Obscura to C3PO-like status.

While the prog/tech/whathaveyou universe is quite crowded, and the “death metal in outer space” thing is oddly rampant right now, Obscura does stand out by virtue of the class with which they ply their trade. Too often, bands of this ilk are too self-absorbed to consider their tactics adequately, and fail to ride the ebb-and-flow that Obscura seems to have a pulse on. Similar to the way Lars Ulrich wondered aloud, “why pummel someone for 5 minutes when you could do it for 8?” during the St. Anger sessions, the current crop of tech-death mofos would rather overwhelm the listener with firestorms of facefucking fret-fragments than build something truly tangible. Most will dismiss a St. Anger reference as rash, but let’s be honest: most of this stuff is rocking a shelf-life similar to that infamous trashcan tour-de-flop.

Bottom line: the duality of jaw-dropping musicianship and memorable, impactful songwriting hasn’t been truly harnessed of late. With hope, this was to be the disc that finally laid waste to the faceless posturers that are merely emulating those who shreddeth before them. And while Cosmogenesis briefly flashes potential to be the most aurally-orgasmic death metal album in recent memory, repeated spins quickly tarnish its sheen, and the band’s own emulation becomes more glaring with each rotation.

It takes a while for this album to get cooking. While the dexerity and fluidity of the band is on full display from the get-go, the first three tracks have few highlights beyond some beautiful bass work and extended guitar soloing. “Incarnated” however, breaks up the prog-pork parade and drops the fucking hammer. Seething for the first time, Obscura get all Symbolic meets Focus on our asses, gnashing and tearing with pointed melody and explosive riffing. Segueing into the obligatory “happy” intrumental, “Orbital Elements,” Obscura push the Cynical envelope even further. Unfortunately, they bring that band’s highbrow haughtiness along for the ride as well; but at least they wear it well. “Noospheres” is another highlight, notable for being one of the only times on record that a vocoder has sounded cool.

But after the all cosmic dust has settled, all the holy-fucking-shits have been muttered, all the dude-that-was-awesomes have been exclaimed…a hyper-derivative wankfest is all that remains. Sure, the musicianship is stellar, but Obscura isn’t bringing any ideas to the table that will distract from the fact that they’re kinda late to the party. Also, their take on ‘progressive death metal’ leans pretty heavily to the ‘prog’ end of the spectrum – vitriol is in short supply. Simply put, there’s not enough nastiness on here to make Diminishing Between Worlds fade to black quite yet, and despite a spirited effort, it’s hard to imagine Cosmogenesis having the longevity that their forebears have enjoyed.

If you can’t get enough of this stuff, by all means, saddle up – but the golden calf this is not.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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