Reviews - O
Back from the dead and still rotting on. Even though OBITUARY tends to release the same formulated album with each release, you gotta love em! When I first heard "Slowly We Rot", well... I just pooped in my pants. No one, and I mean NO ONE, can compare to the extremeness and sheer brutality of John Tardy's distinguishable vocal style. OBITUARY is also one of the best death metal, if not best death metal band to see live. "Threatening Skies" opens up this somewhat excellent disc. Very intense and catchier than hell, the thing I love the most about this band. There really isn't much more to say about this well known band, you're either familiar with their sound/albums, or you just started listening to this style of metal. Oh yeah, how could I forget? First it was ANTHRAX and PUBLIC ENEMY, then the little rap segment on DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA on their first album, who knows who else has done it? And now, I'm sad to say OBITUARY has done it. I about shot myself in the head when I heard this "Bullituary" song that has rap in it. They should have released this song on an EP and called the EP; "This Song Sucks But We Like It and We Want you to Hear It So You'll Shoot Yourself". This song is what makes this album fall. I'm pretty open minded, but this is just pathetic in my opinion. Fuck this song. I'm happy they didn't break up. I can't wait to see them live again, but if they play that rap song, I'll leave!
OBLOMOV - Mighty Cosmic Dances
The most unique aspect here is the songs "Lost between Emotions" and "Starsend" with its soothing saxophone element in the middle of speedy/blasting dark metal. These antagonists from the Czech Republic seriously believe they specialize in astronomy metal. In reality, the ears are subjected to grim/black/gremlin vocals and tight, tight, often speedy, somewhat technical thrash with some melodic passages. "Nostalgic Idealization," a blasting, thrashy affair, has a nice melodic solo, for example. The potential is here for something wonderful in the future, if the solos keep pushing things forward, and if the saxophone becomes more than an occasional, sporadic factor. As it is, this is competent and interesting, though not excellent. They should be less shy with the things that make them different.
THE OBSESSED - "INCARNATE"
This is a compilation of B-sides and such. The production on some of these songs, isn't the best, but overall it's a good sounding release. Overall, one finds this to be The Obsessed, you know, the mid-paced doom style that made them famous for in the underground scene. All the doom bands admit liking this band, and even bands that don't play the style. If you can, get a hold of the "Church Within." Anyway, fans will go wild to get this, as they would with anything from this band.
OBTAINED ENSLAVEMENT - "THE SHEPHERD AND THE HOUNDS OF HELL"
The only thing I want to say about this release is that it sounds like a black metal band. Nothing new, nothing original. Fast to mid-paced, some good time changes, some nice vocals, okay stuff, yet lacks originality. It's been done thousands of times. Oh, stupid cover guys!
OBTRUNCATION - "THE CALLOUS CONCEPT"
Man this band is tight! Very brutal in a good way. Not gay and cheesy like so many other things out there plaguing the scene. Man, the solos are intelligent, melodic, and fit strangely with the insanity going on here. This band is really, really good. Sick and diverse vocals, meaning a high and a low, but to go along with that, they have a chanting type low vocal approach that strangely fits. The drummer is tight and really, really good. Man, this CD blows my mind to tell you the truth; this is a must have CD if you like extreme death metal that is actually intelligent and brutal at the same time. One of the better bands that needs to be noticed more. Pretty unique in my opinion.
OCTAVIA SPERATI - WINTER ENCLOSURE
This all-female melodic doom/goth/rock Norwegian band probably gets interest just on the fact of their sex, since there are not many all-women groups in the field of Lacuna Coil/The Gathering / Theatre of Tragedy / Nightwish music. The vocals are high and melodic, of course. Interestingly enough, I don't find that the music is very poppy or overly sweet. Fans of melancholic rock (with metal elements) with female vocals will be very pleased with the quality of the album. The songs are played at a comfortable, middle-of-the-road tempo (not slow at all, but hardly ever truly fast). The element of melancholy is pretty strong, but not depressive. The singing of Silje is high and she is most definitely a female crooner. However, this does not mean operatic, Nightwish-like vocals. Also, the guitar tone is actually pretty low, like a softer doom metal guitar tone, but only the tone. The songs are, overall, catchy, but, again, not poppy ear candy. Plus, they are kind of dark. I honestly don't enjoy this music that much, which is why I was not blown away, I guess. One thing is clear, regardless of my opinion, the quality of the music is undeniable. I don't have a website for this band, sorry.
ODD ZERO - S/T
Once again I have been sent a CD of music that I'm just not into. It reminds me of The Offspring to be quite honest, and the like. The only thing that I found tolerable from this release was the guitar solos. If Emo, happy wanna be punk-rock is your cup of tea, you might want to go and check them out at - www.oddzero.net or www.cyclonesound.com
JON OLIVA'S PAIN - TAGE MAHAL
Savatage fans, listen up. Savatage's Jon Oliva's new band is not that different from post-"Gutter Ballet" material. Jon's band here is Zachary Steven's band, Circle II Circle, minus Zak, of course. Jon's unmistakable gritty vocals accompany a midpaced, chunky guitar sound. Basically, if you enjoy "Poets and Madmen", "Streets: A Rock Opera" and less speedy albums, I think you will be pleased to hear Jon back in action again. The song "People Say -- Gimme Some Hell" has lyrics with obvious Savatage album references/lines about dungeons, doors of the dark, strange wings, etc. This is definitely made to give you an Oliva/Savatage fix while you wait for the next Savatage album. Unfortunately, my idea of Savatage is "Hall of the Mountain King" or even "Gutter Ballet". Therefore, this is too slow and boring for me. Frankly, I'd like more speed, more double bass, more wailing, faster guitar, more dynamic guitar, instead of all chunky, midpaced all the time. Basically, more energy, more attitude, more metal is what I'd like.
OMNIUM GATHERUM - YEARS IN WASTE
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
Excellent album! I had no idea that this band was ridiculously good. Even the pickiest metal audience would have to give props: old school, new school, it doesn't matter because Omnium Gatherum do everything right. All serious metal people should give this band a chance. Categories don't really work here because, for instance, even though the vocals are death metal, they have an extra something special that makes them good (no clean singing here). The guitar work falls in the thrash/death category, but tight, bouncy, and dynamic without sounding cheesy/melodic/ear-candy. At the same time, it's strong riffing, memorable, headbanging work. This is a persuasive example of why good drumming is so important: tight and skilled, of course, but the main thing that I like about it is the way it works so well with the rhythm of the song. The songs just sound very on target: total unity of sound structure meandering, moving, turning, circling, blasting, thrashing, slowing down to brief quiet moments and then gathering itself up once again, ready to roll on forward. I am pleasantly surprised with how talented this is.
ON A DEAD MACHINE: S/T
This alternative, emo rock band combines a melodic feel with harsh screams. The melodic rock stuff sounds catchy, for the most part, but the screams just ruin the songs. It's a little bit like: "Do you like pepperoni, sausage and cheese pizza? Well, if you do, then try some pizza with rat meat on it!!" (The stupid screaming would be the rat in this comparison.)
ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET - 21st Century Killing Machine
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
Ex-The Crown vocalist Johan Lindstrand returns with simple mid-paced thrash with growled vocals. Parts of the soloing is melodic, mildly interesting. Overall, however, this is just too plain, too basic with its constant mid-tempo rhythms. The drumming and riffs don't offer anything interesting. In short, this is disappointing. Sounds like a project. They need to step up the energy in a serious way.
OPETH - "Still Life"
What we have here is the fourth installment from the progressive death metal band known as OPETH. Like their last brilliant album, My Arms, Your Hearse, this album is also a concept album. With that said, how does one go about putting sheer and utter brilliance into words? This album is filled with so much passion and emotion, that many other bands canít even come close to reaching OPETHís level. I canít even estimate the amount of times that I have listened to this, and I still notice new things in each song. One of the things that I noticed upon first listening to this album was how much better Mikael Akerfeldtís clean vocals have gotten. I donít know if he is taking vocal lessons or what, but whatever he is doing, it is working well because he makes the transition from clean vocals to growling vocals very smoothly. The guitar melodies are so memorable and passion-filled that they will surely get stuck in your head and send a chill up your spine. The sheer intricacy of the songs is something that amazes me as the listener. "Benighted" and "Face of Melinda" are two songs that are on the mellow side that are especially emotional. However, donít start thinking that OPETH have become easy listening, because the heavy, prevailing guitars and death metal vocals still triumph. This is easily noticeable in the last two songs on the album titled "Serenity Painted Death" and "White Cluster." Another thing worth mentioning is that all of the songs, with the exception of one, are about eight minutes or longer. I donít want to touch too much on the rather depressing lyrics, as I might ruin the story for someone. But, be sure to read over the lyrics because they play a key role in this album as well. OPETH are definitely on a level that many bands will never even get to, and you would be a fool to not immediately go and get this album.
ORANGE SKY - UPSTAIRS
From a land far, far away, from the world center of rock music comes Orange Sky: from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela, which is located in northernmost South America, you may need a map. Don't be embarrassed if you don't know your Caribbean geography. This CD comes with a DVD, too. The DVD has a little bit of information about the band, Trinidad, etc., as well as bit of a live performance, which is pretty rocking and animated. Orange Sky's music covers a lot of ground. It has the heavier, banging, metal moments, which are done well and sound good, actually. More often not, the band stays in the heavy rock perimeters, allowing it to explore other feelings besides all-out energy. There is an organic, up-front feel to the songs that makes them different from each other. From a metal viewpoint, "Escape" and "Tug of War" are the most interesting because they are the most kicking tunes, but this is not a metal band, per se. The whole album is done well and it has enthusiasm.
ORDER OF THE EBON HAND - XV: THE DEVIL
SEASON OF MIST
There is such a thing as band chemistry, which the music often reflects. Sometimes something sounds like a project and it just does not sound convincing. This group plays blasting black metal with the occasional midpaced song. They have the traditional black metal vocals, the riffing, the speed, etc. What they do not have is the songs. The first song sounds cool because it's blasting. The second song sounds boring because it's blasting.
ORIGIN - ECHOES OF DECIMATION
This is not even 27 minutes long. Origin pushes, on the one hand, the limits of technicality, musical velocity, grindingness and overpowering overwhelmingness (Apparently, they make people use words that are not even real.). Imagine the guitar-obsessed heroes just losing their minds and blasting, blasting and blasting, constructing veritable walls of noise and then destroying those same walls. For example, the guitar-playing sounds very ridiculously metal and the vocals, man, there seems to be no pause in the growling from the beginning to the end of a song. It's a constant three-way whirlwind of growling. On the other hand, the guitar does have an aspect of wankerism and noodling. There seem to be a million minisolos, most of them having no real purpose, actually. Of course, having no purpose is a purpose, if it's an exercise in the implementation of (non)musical chaos. In short, bands like Slayer sound laid-back, relaxed, mellow compared to this madness. This is too fast to mosh to. Too fast to bang your head to. The human body's physical response, in addition to being very delayed in relation to the noise, will be in a state of slow motion compared to the patterns and rhythms of Origin. Origin is a ridiculous band. But, guys, you gotta make the albums longer, man!
OUTPATIENT - "OUTCASTS 2 - 85 - 95"
Free Association Records
Hardcore with obvious metal and other influences. For one thing, the vocals are more metal than hardcore, in my opinion. And the whole, general sound moves in the direction of more texture than usual hardcore. "Purists" of all kinds will be repelled. That's the idea.