A year straight after the release of their third critically acclaimed masterpiece ”Omnivium”, Germany’s Obscura decided it was about time to release a rather interesting compilation, which bears the name of their first demo ”Illegimitation”. Ten years after their creation, this seems to be the ideal present to their fans, including a mass amount of tracks that the die-hards will surely get obsessed with. In practice, we have to deal with a release divided into three parts and that makes it even more interesting. The first four tracks are from the self-titled demo of 2003, the next three tracks are from their second album’s ”Cosmogenesis” pre-production days and the third track gives us a well-detailed proof that there were some bands that affected Obscura’s life so far and they decided to pay a tribute to them by doing some excellent covers.
First comes their demo, where Obscura were much closer to black metal than their later form. Furious technical tracks, with relentless master riffing followed by double-bass frenzy and more screaming vocals than we have got used to them. The instrumental ”…And All Will Come To An End” opens and prepares the ground for three tracks for which many Norwegian bands would kill to include in some of their albums. ”Crucified” is a perfect example of how you can insert as much stuff possible to a track and make it sound clean, aggressive, technical and special. The other two tracks ”Fear” (great steady rhythm held in the beginning) and ”Immanent Disaster” (the cello part in the middle and the following riff will bring you chills) follow in the same vein, and you just can’t help but thinking what would have happened and how much things would be different if Obscura would continue playing this way. It could be better, it could be worse. Their debut album ”Retribution” in 2006 turned out in a more raw death metal approach finally.
Next are the tracks from the ”Cosmogenesis” sessions. This second album was the one that gave them the big boost to become one of the hottest names of the whole metal scene today. ”Omnivium” which followed is better but ”Cosmogenesis” set the basis on where Obscura should focus to become as unique as they are today. Included on this release are ”Incarnated” (maybe the most favourite track of the album by the fans, even way more than the most known ”The Anticosmic Overload”), ”Open The Gates” (blowing one) and ”Headworm” (crawling one). Here the Germans show clearly that they have changed their style, a little after the release of their first album and this is how maturity entered the band and has never left them since then. A little more raw compared to the album’s final sound but still rather promising of what finally came as a result. This version of ”Incarnated” may find people that could claim it’s even better than the one that ended up on the album. The magic is almost the same, believe me.
Last but not least come three covers from the bands which came to my mind when I first listened to Obscura’s music: Death, Atheist and Cynic. It is no secret that the quartet is the perfect example of how you can revive a sound and do it honest. I’ve stated to friends many times that they continue Chuck Schuldiner’s work from where he stopped and though it might seem somehow to you, to me they are the only ones who can offer such masterpieces in that sound. ”Flesh And The Power It Holds” from the latest Death album ”The Sound Of Perseverance” is one of the most demanding and longest tracks Chuck ever composed, so even thinking of covering it would seem mad. Not only they did it, but they also gave the biggest possible respect to their greatest of influences. Chuck would surely be proud of this. Next is ”Piece Of Time” from the first Atheist album with the same name. A track full of energy, rhythm changes and insane vocals which they brought to their standards. Atheist themselves have said Obscura is a great band. Listen to this and guess why.
The last track of this compilation is ”How Could ?” by Cynic. One of the most special and challenging tracks ever recorded in the history of music in general. Cynic’s first album ”Focus” is still considered one of the best ever released and the word ”progress” finds its meaning to the eight tracks of that album. The haunting keyboard intro, the use of the famous and beloved vocoder and the precise performance by Obscura make this track sound twice enormous, two decades after its release. In overall, ”Illegimitation” is a must buy release especially for the fans of the band and the perfect warm up for their next album which may become their best so far, if they continue surprising us like this. I wish they would also include the colossal covers of ”Wings” by Vader and ”Decade Of Therion” by Behemoth on this release but we may have the chance to enjoy them in the future. Trust and rely on Obscura, they are one of the very few bands of today’s metal scene which seem willing and capable of giving life to the whole metal scene in the future.
|Track List||Line Up|
01. …And All Will Come To An End
04. Immanent Disaster
06. Open The Gates
08. Flesh And The Power It Holds (Death Cover)
09. Piece Of Time (Atheist Cover)
10. How Could I (Cynic Cover)
|Illegimitation (Tracks 1-4):Steffen Kummerer – Guitars, Vocals
Ketzer – Vocals
Jonas Baumgartl – Drums, Cello
Armin Seitz – Bass
Cosmogenesis Pre-production (Tracks 5-7):
Steffen Kummerer – Guitar, Vocals
2011 Recording Session (Tracks 8-10):
Steffen Kummerer – Guitar, Vocals