Oblivion
Called to Rise

Dang it. I wanted to like this sooooo much more. Oblivion sees former All Shall Perish founder and guitarist Ben Orum reunite with buddies Nick Vasallo (vocals) and Luis Martinez (drums) from his pre ASP band, Antagony, a vastly under rated progressive deathcore act from a decade ago (seriously, go listen to the bands second album, 2005’s Rebirth). However, instead of anything core related, Oblivion plays modern, technical death metal, and while played and rendered superbly, like the recent release from Rivers of Nihil, despite some progressive and classical flourishes, Called to Rise lacks soul.

Originally self released earlier this year, tech death label Unique Leader  has picked up the rights and re-released it (though oddly not adding more Unique Leader-y album art) and added 3 bonus tracks that were available as a bonus download to the earlier release. And while Vasallo’s more experimental and progressive side can be heard (he has dabbled in classical/instrumental solo releases in his post Antagony days) in the likes of instrumental breaks like “Canon in E Minor” , “Oblivion Parts 1 and 2” as well as two of three bonus tracks, “Shred: I. Multiverse” and “Shred: II. Long Deaf Hate”, two string orchestra numbers, the album is a by the numbers tech death metal affair.

That’s to say the album is mind numbingly skillful and  absolutely chock full of stunning, tight musicianship and surgical guitar work mired in clinical blast beats and dual scream/growls, but like so much of the style, it lacks any real memorability or staying power. Unlike some of their peers like say Origin, Decrepit Birth or Gorod, Oblivion  lacks immediate solos or melody to allow the superb skill and playing to breath. The restrictive, sterile production and continual shredding, while a guitar player’s wet dream, simply pitters and patters with nothing to recall once its over.

And it’s a shame considering how Ben Orum ignited deathcore with his melodic shredding with All Shall Perish, and Vasallo’s classical back ground, you’d thing they would go outside the paradigms of tech death metal a little and inject a little more creativity and individuality into the style instead of this robotic, rigid and ultimately forgetful display of self indulgent musicianship. There is literally not one song from this release that stands out or has me hitting the rewind button.Even the the aforementioned numbers or the likes of “Binary Souls” , “Reigns in Fire” , blackened “Multiverse” or blistering “Annunaki”,  while delivering something with slightly more character from the rest of the tracks unrelenting noodly, clicky salvos, never really sink in. Of course though, if that’s the kind of thing you are into- this will light you up, it’s far from a bad album, I just expected a little more.

When archaic label mates Pyrexia and Deeds of Flesh  and even new comers/label mates Inanimate Existence are writing more memorable tunes than you, it’s a waste of obviously superior skill considering the potential of this renunion of sorts and a bit of a let down. However, Im sure these guys will deliver somethign special next time around. (*fingers crossed*)

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 16th, 2013

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