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Long-standing German death metal band Obscenity have relished in underground popularity, especially around their home turf, but never clambered to the highest league. 'Intense' is the band's fifth full length studio work (now they are about to release their seventh on June 9th).
'Intense' does sound what the title promises: This is performed with intensity. While technical aspect has been kept up, so too is rawness. Obscenity mixes European death metal with USA style brutality, that means speed and warped riffs. Bits of thrash metal and rockier groove bring variety, but still the band doesn't manage to sound too original. 'Bleed for Me' includes awesome riffing and power, being one of the album's few highlights and also pretty much Obscenity on their own. Good 'Pride of Creation' begins with a Testament-style eerie melody, and is the most melodic piece on offer, including a melancholic part but also brutal stuff. 'Golden Cage' reminds me the debut of Six Feet Under, mostly because of vocals. The vocals are low throat, Chris Barnes style, but without any funny sounds. But they are a bit one dimensional, even though lovely screamed backing vocals offer some variety. Ripping 'Suck My Vomit' is one of the faster songs on the album, and also one of the most brutal ones. 'Ripping Your Torso' rips itself among better songs, being a very European sounding death metal song. 'Final Breath' is another fast one, but too typical. However, it makes my head bang, so... 'Phenomenon Time' is old school thrash-cum-death metal fest, as is 'Mental Emptiness' too. 'Return of the Crows' is pure death metal, but also unoriginal as fuck, including a melancholic chorus and remind me of other German death metal act: Fleshcrawl. The lyrics are generally about violence, death and human trifles, and are very childish at times (e.g. 'Golden Cage'), but not always in a bad way.
The sound is organic and heavy, fitting well with the music. Cover art is one of the worst ever I've seen! Stupid cover collage is awful, but nothing compared to booklet's pink graphics. So, another Morbid Records release with pink on it (see Apophis's 'Heliopolis' )! Awful yellow font makes me suck my own vomit... Just check out the music, don't be scared off by the shitty artwork. CD includes some short videos, but they feel more like the boys' own fun. Totally unnecessary.
The band manages to throw some good hooks during these 44 minutes, and intense performance is a real plus. At best, this makes my body move, but sadly there's some average songs included. The lack of nothing new can be a double-edged sword, it's just what you expect from an album you're going to buy. Definitely not trendy.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2006)