Obscurity: Obscurity

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Obscurity: Obscurity
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Obscurity: Obscurity
Pagan Metal, Viking Metal
Trollzorn Records
October 19th, 2012
Release length:
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When it comes to the band name Obscurity, you’ll find plenty of active and disbanded groups using it. This is the Pagan and Viking Metal group from Velbert, Germany. They formed back in 1997, and since then issued five full-lengths and two demos prior. Two years after their last recording, Tenkterra, they went back in the studio to record their self-titled sixth album, finding a home through Trollzorn Music, for a late 2012 release date. But, is this little known band, at least outside of their home country, enough to stick out among the many others using this name, or is Obscurity doomed to be left in the same world their title suggests?

The production quality is simply fantastic. Each instrument has the right amount of edge to retain the signature elements of the Pagan and Viking style, sometimes treading further into a Black Metal realm with some riffs and the sharper distortion on the guitar chords that, for the most part, is geared more towards a somewhat catchy and melodic sound. The bass is pretty dominant in the mix with a deeper buzzing that sticks out well. The drums come through perfectly with tight, slightly hollowed snares and crisp cymbals that fill the music without drowning out the stern click of the bass kicks that can be pushed a bit into the back. The vocals, however, show a good deal of range, keeping to an enthusiastic rhaspy shout, but not afraid to bring in some harmonization and even deeper tones for effect.

Right away, you can pick up on a slight Amon Amarth influence in the catchy guitar hooks and the atmospheres they can create, but there’s no denying the amount of energy and aggression in many other passages do give things more of a unique touch. “In Nomine Patris” hammers away at the listener in the main verses, the aggression dripping from the instruments and rhaspy vocals, even during the most melodic of passages. The chorus slows things down, incorporates some gutturals as well to enrich the impact, and there’s a decent amount of emotion in the performance that brings in a depressing tone for a somewhat grim, if not highly energetic offering. “Strsndhogg” doesn’t quite have the same speed, but it ends up another hostile track well worth banging your head to. Plenty of hooks, as well as later commanding breakdowns prior to a simple yet sweet guitar solo really throw a stern experience at the listener without remorse.

But, catchy as hell songs like “In Nomine Patris” isn’t all Obscurity have to offer. “Obscurity” is a much faster and hostile assault, though the chorus is a bit more hook driven. This also has some riffs that can sometimes seem more modern Black Metal oriented, seething with a venomous rage at times. “Fimbulwinter” is also a nice nod to that style, but taking a bit of a second wave approach that is just shy of wails in spots to add some melancoly to the haunting atmospheres in the slower passges. But, then there’s “Ensamvarg,” which is an emotionally rich, even depressing slower track that feels like an anthem to trudge to war to. This is easily the most memorable cut on the album. Epic moments in the guitar work with plenty of enthusiasm in even the most dismal of mourning sections make this impossible to dislodge from your brain without the use of a bullet.

While some of the inspirations end up a litle obvious, Obscurity is a fantastic album full of catchy, sometimes venomous songs for the Pagan and Viking Metal field. Many of the songs are memorable and will have you constantly coming back for more. While more times than not this album will kick you square in the ass, the enthusiasm does seem to die down a bit as you reach the end, including the oddly symphonic closing track “So Wndet Meine Zeit,” which just sounds out of place. But, that said, there’s no reason to not rush out and pick this one up as soon as possible. Obscurity prove that they are definitely a superior Metal group that deserves more than just what their name hints at.

01. In Nomine Patris – 5:04
02. Obscurity – 4:28
03. Germanenblut – 3:54
04. Strandhogg – 4:35
05. Ensamvarg – 6:49
06. Blutmondzeit – 4:32
07. J̦rmungandr Р4:41
08. Weltenbrand – 4:11
09. Fimbulwinter – 4:08
10. Kein Rückzug – 3:43
11. So Endet Meine Zeit – 4:11
Overall Score: 9/10

Obscurity (band)
Obscurity

Digital review copy of this release provided by Trollzorn Music via Metal Message PR.