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Obscura have been one of those "Diamond in the Rough" bands to me ever since I heard Retribution especially the cover of Death's classic "Lack of Comprehension" and after seeing that they have been signed by powerhouse label "Relapse Records" they had their chance at the big time and they did not disappoint.
I found that the album took a massive step forward in the evolution of their sound. I've always been a fan of progressive technical death metal like Quo Vadis, Augury, Neuraxis, etc. and finally there is one band that captures the progressive death metal sound that is outside of Canada. That being said they also added a nice European metal twist.
The riffs are ones that will stick in your head for days. They drive the songs forward in a way that they become unforgettable. The bass reminds me a lot of Cynic in the sense that they bass lines are audible and have that same jazz-fusion style which makes the album stand out among other bands of this genre.
Speaking of Cynic, they also use electronically enhanced vocals in a few of their songs that take you back to the days of the groundbreaking album "Focus" with a modern element integrated into that as well. It's nice to finally hear another band be able to pull off that sound.
In regards to the drumming, something stood out more than anything for me and that is before I purchased this album I was able to see Obscura live. That drummer is absolutely insane he does excellent blast beats, double kicks etc. and the album sounds exactly as it should sound when the songs are played live. That one final aspect is what pushes this album over the top and why it deserves a place as one of the top releases of 2009.