Kicking off any review with some rant over semantics probably isn’t the best way to go, but allow me to at least throw in my 2 cents worth on the matter. OK, I firmly believe there is a big difference between ‘technical’ and ‘experimental’ Metal; while the former implies some form of advanced intricacy (structurally and thematically, as it pertains to various forms of songcraft), the latter implies exactly an exploration of disparate elements and influences thrown into the mix. I guess I’m saying what most people already know but I just had to get this off my chest since so many out there seem to use the two concepts interchangeably. Technical means often retaining a core sound but structuring it in such a way that it becomes more engaging than your average 4/4 beat driven rock tune; experimental means mixing it all up and constantly bringing new elements to the mix. What I’m getting at here is that OBLIVEON’s first two albums fall in the ‘technical’ camp while their latter two (this one and “Carnivore Mothermouth”) fall more in the ‘experimental’ camp.
I don’t really have any huge issues with experimental music but more often than not what initially starts out as mere musical exploration (i.e. having ‘fun’ with your songs) soon degenerates into jarring, incoherent musical pomp. OBLIVEON’s two final albums unfortunately fall into this quagmire. Don’t get me wrong, this disc is not quite the musical abomination you probably assume I’m implying it to be, but it is certainly not a very enjoyable album by any means. 90% of the riffs on here are too chugga-chugga for my tastes and the constant tempo changes also disrupts the few moments of genuine momentum gathered here and there throughout the album. In the end “Cybervoid” comes off as nothing more than a collection of sporadic spurts of genius – a collection of moments. This is not a good thing and just proves my theory that too much experimentation can sink a band just as easily as it can push one’s sound to new heights. Anyway, what exactly does “Cybervoid” hold in store?
Well, a little bit of the raw yet technically-tinged Thrash of their first two albums, some very unwelcome industrial overtones, a boatload of weak grooves and, quite simply, minimal musical balls! There are only two tracks on here that can rival the genius that was found on “Nemesis”, namely the title track (very good balance between slow and fast sections on here, punctuated by some very eerie melodies and solos), and the atmospheric “Deus Ex Machina”. The rest mostly alternate between the merely decent “Sequels” (a more straightforward Thrash tune with a vibe that I can only describe as busy) and the groovy yet sufficiently heavy “Biomechanique”. On these tracks the band sound reasonably comfortable with their musical ADD, and the guitar tone also packs quite the punch. But the other remaining tracks just reek of musical indecisiveness and that much-maligned FEAR FACTORY meets PANTERA electro-groove type of sound. It all sounds way too pretentious, modern and weak. As always the production is spot on though.
I guess the album perfectly sums up the sound on here – futuristic but empty.
(Online November 7, 2007)