Let me get straight to the point right from the get-go: this album, OBLIVEON’s sophomore effort, is miles ahead of their slightly underwhelming debut effort I reviewed recently. In fact, I would rate this is as quite the essential album of their rather short discography/career, and I’m sure that anyone into solid Prog Thrash would find something of worth in this album. So yeah, here we go with round two kiddies…
On “Nemesis”, OBLIVEON excised the more trudging moments that plagued their debut while at the same time coming up with immediately more interesting riffs, resulting in an instantly more focused and powerful album. The speedy parts are speedier, the slower parts are more ‘moody’, and the production values are even stronger than they were on the debut (which already had a quite strong sound). One thing that I also appreciate about this album is the fact that the more spaced out (read: technical, intricate, progressive, experimental, whatever…) moments work to enhance the riffs directly instead of simply being there to provide some form of musical counterpoint to proceedings. This is an album characterized by songs that all build up in intensity and then, ehm, climax in enjoyable flurries of speed and aggression. There is still a bit of a Death Metal vibe lingering over these songs, especially bass and vocal-wise, so this will also appeal to fans of DEATH’s more progressive output. Yes, “Nemesis” is aggressive but also brainy and I dig it. The first half of the album is the strongest with the title track featuring a solid groove with just the right amount of speed and melody thrown in. “The Thinker’s Lair” is the perfect mix of Death and Thrash, while “Dynamo” is a track heavy on double-bass, interesting bass-lines, and kick ass riffs (check out those nifty riffs at 2:56), while “Obscure Mindways” is one of your more straightforward but no less satisfactory Thrash exercises. Actually this entire album is enjoyable, with the possible exception of “Estranging Abductions”, which sadly never seems to get out of first gear.
I can’t really say more about this album. It is a triumph in that it managed to improve on its predecessor in basically every department, and while some of the songs get very technical they never lose focus or the requisite amount of good ol’ Thrash violence. Yes, the two following albums “(1995’s “Cybervoid” and 1999’s dodgy titled “Carnivore Mothermouth”) are even more progressive and experimental in nature, but where those albums seemed to suffer because of it “Nemesis” is all the better exactly ‘cos of it and I therefore deem this a real gem of technical Thrash.
(Online November 6, 2007)