OBSCURA – Omnivium

OBSCURA appeals to fans of “math metal,” or bands that have thousands of riffs per song who try and be as technical as possible. Obviously with ex-members of NECROPHAGIST, OBSCURA attracts fans of the progressive/technical metal subgenre, such as THE FACELESS, CYNIC, ATHEIST, and MESHUGGAH just to name a few. However, they may provide more depth and personality than the bands mentioned. The previous album, Cosmogenesis, produced some mind boggling riffs with amazing and unique bass lines delivered by Jeroen Paul Thesseling, but Omnivium goes into throwback mode, as the music is generally in the vein of the debut album, Retribution. Like Retribution, Omnivium is a little more brutal and spiced up than their last effort, but still technical enough so that guitar and drum nerds will still be amazed with the musicianship.

Septuagint” starts the album innocently enough, with lush acoustic guitars, followed by a safe melodic riff, until the brutality of the blast beats and frantic guitar work kick in. As “Vortex Omnivium” begins with a brutal section, towards the end of the track, Thesseling’s influences are brought to center stage with a funky bass line that works well, and a lot more pronounced than the bass lines he played on the much maligned Spheres album by PESTILENCE.

There are some weak spots in the album, as “Ocean Gateways” is on the doomy side, and tries to sound a tad like MORBID ANGEL’s “God of Emptiness,” which does not mesh well in between the fast tracks. Showing off too much can be overkill and bring the album down, like when “Prismal Dawn” has too many scales played at 10x speed, and makes it sound more like a practice/jam session structured within a song.

The lengthy album starts to drag a bit during the middle tracks such as with “Celestial Spheres,” because too many notes are all over the place without giving the music a chance to breathe – the experience can be quite overwhelming at times. Fortunately, “Velocity” picks the brutality back up and awakens the senses with a fine balance of jazz interludes and grinding blasts. OBSCURA throws in their proggy elements for good measure in the beautiful “A Transcendental Serenade,” with some lovely bass parts, jazzy drum patterns, and overall godly guitar sweeps and solos. Finishing off the auditory blitz comes “Aevum,” with catchy hooks and crushing blast beats from hell; thus completing the heavy dose of guitar and drum wizardry.

Omnivium deserves many repeated listens, not only because the album clocks in at just under an hour, but because of the many layers involved. The amazing bass work, guitar picking, arpeggios, and drum techniques will all satisfy the thirst of the ultimate music nerd within us. OBSCURA fits the Relapse roster perfectly (i.e. ORIGIN, ABYSMAL DAWN) with their brutal and technical style, but they definitely lead the pack in terms of songwriting, jaw dropping musicianship and proficiency. (Relapse Records)

CARCASS, EXODUS, SAMAEL, More to Play 3rd Annual California Metalfest

The third annual California Metalfest, presented by Nederlander Concerts and Headbang For The Highway, is confirmed for March 28th at The Grove of Anaheim.  Confirmed talent thus far includes CARCASS, EXODUS, SUFFOCATION, THE FACELESS, WHITECHAPEL, SAMAEL, ARSIS, DECREPIT BIRTH, VEIL OF MAYA, PSYCROPTIC, and others to be announced in the coming weeks.

The first California Metalfest in 2006 featured headliner NECROPHAGIST in their first Southern California appearance. 2007′s edition was headlined by TESTAMENT.

Visit the official MySpace page for all the latest show info: http://www.myspace.com/californiametalfest

More CARCASS Reunion Shows and Guests Announced

Reunited melodic-death/grind legends CARCASS have announced additional U.S. shows. In addition to support on the entire tour from SUFFOCATION, 1349, ABORTED and ROTTEN SOUND, additional special guests have been noted below on select shows.

9/05-Worcester, MA @ The Palladium w/ NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS
9/06-New York, NY @ Nokia Theatre w/ NECROPHAGIST
9/07-Montreal, QC @ Medley
9/08-Toronto, ON @ Opera House
9/09-Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom w/ NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS
9/10-Baltimore, MD @ Sonar w/ PIG DESTROYER, MISERY INDEX
9/11-Raleigh, NC @ Volume 11
9/12-Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
9/13-St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Landing
9/15-Austin, TX @ Emo’s
9/18-Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
9/19-San Francisco, CA @ The Grand Ballroom
9/21-Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/22-Vancouver, WA @ Commodore Ballroom

BENEATH THE MASSACRE Confirmed as Support to NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS

Montreal technical death metallers BENEATH THE MASSACRE have been confirmed for a run of dates on the Pillage The Village Tour as support to NECROPHAGIST and DYING FETUS, along with VEIL OF MAYA, including one appearance with legendary British gore-grinders CARCASS. The band is currently completing work on its second full-length release, Dystopia, the follow-up to the band’s Prosthetic debut, Mechanics of Dysfunction.

BENEATH THE MASSACRE on tour:
7/31 St. Catharines, ONT – L3 Nightclub
8/01 Hamilton, ONT – The Assumption Hall
8/02 Newcastle, ONT – Wie Gehts Amigo’s (Newcastle Deathfest)
8/08 Guelph, ONT – The Shadow
8/09 Sudbury, ONT – Jubilee Hall
8/10 North Bay, ONT – The Granet Club

Summer Slaughter Canada with NECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS, INTO ETERNITY, NEURAXIS, WHITECHAPEL, VEIL OF MAYA, DIVINITY, and COMMON GRAVE
8/14 Quebec City, QC – Imperial
8/15 Montreal, QC – Club Soda
8/16 Toronto, ON – Opera House (featuring BRUTAL TRUTH)
8/18 Thunder Bay, ON – Kilroy’s
8/19 Winnipeg, MB – Garrick Center
8/20 Regina, SK – Riddell Center
8/21 Calgary, AB – Warehouse
8/22 Edmonton, AB – Starlite
8/23 Prince George, BC – Roll-a-dome
8/25 Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom (no COMMON GRAVE, DIVINITY)

Pillage The Village TourNECROPHAGIST, DYING FETUS, BENEATH THE MASSACRE, VEIL OF MAYA:
8/26 Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
8/27 Portland, OR – Rock N Roll Pizza
8/28 Boise, ID – The Venue
8/29 Ogden, UT – Club Boom Va
8/30 Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep
8/31 Wichita, KS – Club Oz
9/02 Louisville, KY – Headliners
9/03 Pittsburgh, PA – TBA
9/04 Rochester, NY – The Penny Arcade
9/05 Worcester, MA – The Palladium (with CARCASS, SUFFOCATION, ABORTED, 1349)
9/07 Virginia Beach, VA – Steppin’ Out
9/08 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
9/10 Albany, NY – Northern Lights

CARCASS Schedule New York Show; More U.S. Shows Coming

Reactivated British extreme metal pioneers CARCASS have announced their first U.S. show since reuniting for a slew of festival performances around the globe. CARCASS will play the Nokia Theatre in New York City on Saturday, September 6 with support to come from NECROPHAGIST, ABORTED, and three soon-to-be-announced special guests.

Vocalist/bassist, Jeff Walker, also assured fans that additional U.S. shows will happen: “Well, we waited and waited (just to make you sweat), but it doesn’t look like Bush and Blair‘s phony war has any end in sight. The dollar ain’t gonna get any stronger, gas ain’t gonna get any cheaper, so it’s now or never! I guess you ex-colonists need cheering up and the only thing we can think of is some old-school grind and death metal (laughs)! Joking aside, we KNOW damn well we HAVE to play the U.S. if only to either shut you all up or completely disappoint you and shatter your illusions about this band! Either way, it’s gonna be a ‘blast,’ as you say out there. We’re looking to recreate the road trip of the summer of ’90 with DEATH, which was one of the best times of our lives (Christ, I sound old)! To quote Herchell Gordon Lewis as on Necroticism, ‘PREPARE TO DIE!’”

Check out fan-filmed footage from the band’s last performance on June 20th at the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, Finland: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5waji_carcass-heartwork-hellfest-2008_music