Friday, March 9, 2012

Obscura - Illegimitation

I've had the pleasure of meeting Christian Münzner and he's a pretty nice guy. A bit shy, especially about Obscura's earlier material. I actually asked him if I should pick up Retribution and he told me "No, get Cosmogenesis you don't want Retribution. We were shit back then." Well I already had bought Cosmogenesis, and although I wasn't the biggest fan of the band back then (or now), I liked them because their live performance was solid. They knew how to rile the crowd up, and their playing was precise and not overproduced as happens when you don't have all the studio effects miring everything up.

Personally I didn't enjoy Omnivium one bit. It barely felt like death metal if even extreme metal. Now come 2011 and they've released a compilation like all big name bands in metal seem to do, titled Illegimitation.

Generally compilations are pretty worthless to me. Taking a bunch of tracks everyone has heard before and pulling them together on an album to be marketed to fans as a new release is just a cheap way to make a buck. Obviously that isn't always the case and in particular I love when bands happen to re-record old tracks just for the compilation. Otherwise it just feels like a waste of time and money, although occasionally they'll include a few new tracks to tide over people like myself.

Obscura however, didn't.

Instead we've been given three "new" tracks. In fact they're covers of bands that may have had some sort of influence on Obscura at some point. One cover of Death, one of Atheist, and one of Cynic. Tracks one to four are from Obscura's demo (also titled Illegimitation). Funnily enough, "Fear" is pretty badass. I gotta say it sounds like a less polished, more bass-driven Obscura with a degree of heaviness that their later material seems to lack. Obviously as comes with these first four tracks being demo quality, they're significantly less polished than their recent output. The drumming is imprecise, the guitarwork is much more simple, and the basslines are more mid-paced and groovy. Everything seems to flow well in my opinion, although if you're a fan of Obscura you've heard these same tracks before.

Tracks five to seven are from a preproduction of Cosmogenesis, and I definitely like the sound on these more than that of the album. "Incarnated" sounds more aggressive and "Headworm" is pretty dense for an Obscura track with its chugging triplets. I mean there's nothing special about any of these tracks, but I guess if you wanted to hear how Obscura would sound without the studio overproducing everything they do, this is what it'd be like. The covers however are awful. I cannot stress how horrid the cover of Atheist's "Piece Of Time" is. The vocals are horrendous and there just seems to be some big disconnect between the band and the song. The "How Could I" (Cynic) cover is significantly better but it doesn't really make up for the Atheist cover. The Death cover is pretty passable as is everything Death did post-Human.

There's not much fluidity to the tracks on here and the theme seems to be "unreleased tracks," which is never a justifiable reason to create a compilation unless those unreleased tracks share a similar theme or style. Illegimitation doesn't really show this, with different members, production changes, and stylistic changes all making their appearance on Illegimitation. Oh well. It just further reinforces my opinion that compilations are worthless.

4.75 out of 10


1. ...And All Will Come to an End

2. Crucified

3. Fear

4. Immanent Desaster

5. Incarnated

6. Open the Gates

7. Headworm

8. Flesh and the Power it Holds (Death cover)

9. Piece of Time (Atheist cover)

10.   How Could I (Cynic cover)

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