Obscura’s album “Omnivium” is a dynamic example of creativity and complexity. This album covers so much ground, much more than your average death metal band. From beginning to end, “Omnivium” takes you to every extreme that the ear can listen to. This album has all the ingredients for a great death metal album, such as rhythmically complex instrumentals, technical guitar riffs, heavy breakdowns, and of course, crazy fast guitar solos. But this album is so much more than that. Most death metal artists these days don’t pay a whole lot of attention to detail and they focus too much on making themselves sound as heavy or technical as possible (not naming any names). That is one of the greatest aspects of “Omnivium.” Yes, it is a technically advanced album, but it still allows for creativity.
The theme of this album is what lies above and below the mighty ocean, its mystery and the relationship it shares with our planet. This could be a metaphor for the relationship between heaven, hell, and the earth, but like all good poetry, it can be interpreted in many ways.
You can hear this in a line from the title track: “Vortex Omnivium/where consciousness is the end of all/divine revelation, and worlds become flesh/Vortex Omnivium/when arousing transitory sentiments become pure anger and wrath.”
The vocals are very unique with each track. Steffen Kummerer’s screaming style is very wide spread, covering highs, medium and low pitches. What is unique about “Omnivium” is that there is traditional singing as well throughout the album. On some of the singing parts, you’ll find that they are auto-tuned, which to most death metal bands is sacrilegious. The auto-tuned vocals give it a very mysterious vibe, again adding to the theme of the album.
Some of my favorite guitar work is on this album. The use of fretless bass and classical guitar is superb. You can hear this quite well in the opening track “Septuagint,” which happens to be my favorite track from the album. The song “Velocity” contains one of the most awestruck guitar solos I have ever had a pleasure listening to. The instrumental track “A Transcendental Serenade” has some of the most creative use of guitar harmonies and polyrhythm I have ever heard to date.
“Omnivium” has got to be one of, if not, the best metal album of 2011. I give this album a 10 out of 10. If you would like to hear this album for yourself go pick up a copy on iTunes.
Photo credit: Obscura and Relapse Records