The OBLIVEON name pops up every now and then when the topics of Prog-Thrash and/or Canadian Metal rears its head, and while I’ve personally only read about this band, all four of their albums released during the early to late 90s are now available thanks to the fine gentlemen and the Prodisk label. Here we go with their debut effort called “From This Day Forward”… saddle up!
Like I said before I am not all that familiar with this band but after sitting through this effort it is no surprise that these guys managed to build a little name for themselves in the late 80s/early 90s Technical Thrash Metal scene. The sound is very crisp, especially for a debut effort, and the individual performances are all spot-on, especially with regards to the powerful vocals of Bruno Bernier (the perfect balance between a Death growl and the more typical Thrash snarl), and the always-busy drumming of Alain Demers. Now, since this is Prog/Tech Thrash one shouldn’t go into this album expecting a speed-fest in the vein of EXODUS or early SLAYER – no, this is overall more of a mid-paced affair punctuated by staccato riffs and the occasional Thrash burst (see the title track and “Fiction OPF Veracity”). Where most bands in this genre specifically set out to disembowel the listener with heavy doses of speed and raw Punkishness, OBLIVEON makes you work a little harder to get behind the gist of their songs. I must admit that the strong focus on slow-fast counterpoint and the slight industrial vibe that permeates most of these songs frustrated me at first but luckily these guys were strong enough songwriters to make the speedier parts really stick out, while also pumping enough of a dark aesthetic into the slower tracks like “Access To The Acropolis”. There is also a pronounced groove effect evident in tracks like “Droidomized”, but considering this album came out long before some guys down in Louisiana made it ‘cool’ to groove away on every goddamn song I’ll let them get away with it. Tracks like the aforementioned “Fiction Of Veracity” and the closer “Chromocraze” have more in common with the Tech Death Metal sound of latter era DEATH and fellow countrymen GORGUTS, so that should please those among you who have a penchant for all things heavy, gory and intricate.
So there you have it – a solid debut from one of Canada’s more unheralded entries in the Technical Thrash scene. They would perfect their sound on their next effort, “Nemesis”, but this album is quite engaging and interesting for a debut. It lacks a bit of coherency here and there and some of the slower songs don’t quite click right, but at the end this is still an album fans of cerebral Thrash should check it. It’s not quite in the league of prime WATCHTOWER or ANACRUSIS, but for the odd listen, “From This Day Forward” will suffice.
(Online November 6, 2007)