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To Stay Within the Norms… with a Twist - 96%

bayern, November 27th, 2013

Patrick Mameli is intent on making up for the lost time. This is the band’s third installment since the reformation, and not only that, but this album could pass for a masterpiece even back in the early-90’s. “Resurrection Macabre” was a truly excellent comeback release, but the sterile mechanized riffs on “Doctrine” didn’t seem to work so well: apparently the guys’ experimental spirit refuses to lie dormant, but in that particular case it just took stylish bits from here and there, not necessarily their own, without a very careful thought behind it.

But here comes “Obsideo”, and the Pestilence star shines brightly once again. In this case it doesn’t mean that this effort is full of abstract jazz/fusion histrionics ala “Spheres”, nor does it rely too much on inimitable progressive structures akin to the ones on “Testimony of the Ancients”. It does resemble the latter in terms of execution here and there, but the songs are not very long all fitting into the 3-4min parametres which makes this recording a tight, compact technical fist in the face. Still, there are so many riffs offered on each composition that one may get overwhelmed by this constant downpour of blazing twiddling guitars hitting from all sides. The constant overlapping rhythmic patterns create a lot of dynamics even on the mid-paced passages some of which are very close to capture the catchy pounding brilliance of “Twisted Truth” (check out “Necro Morph” and the macabre “Laniatus”).

Still, this album is built around relentless speedy formulas which evoke a feeling of urgency as though Mameli wasn’t quite happy with the sterile hypnotic turn things took on “Doctrine”, and he was now intent on generating as much energy as possible form this new vehicle in order to catch up. He by all means succeeds in his mission to pummel the listener into desirable oblivion, and the controlled polished extremity at display here will nicely resonate with the fans of the band’s first two efforts, “Consuming Impulse”, in particular since the thrash aesthetics of the debut are not so strongly accentuated on. Mamelli doesn’t push the experimental buttons here although the swirling omnipresent technicality permeating each track here, hasn’t exactly been heard before, stripped from the more ambitious progressive innovations of “Testimony…”, and more meandering and complex than the inspired, but much more immediate bash of “Consuming Impulse”.

In terms of consistency this release beats the last two albums, and with so many things happening within just over half an hour, it resembles the Atheist exploits (both past and present) quite a bit, and is every bit as convincing as the Americans’ “Jupiter”. It’s pretty much exemplary technical death metal devoid of any unnecessary “decorations” (balladisms, sprawling progressiveness, deathcore distractions, djent/math virtuosities, etc.) served in a tight comprehensive manner staying faithful to the band’s reputation as one of the leaders of the genre. It doesn’t repeat any past feats note-by-note, neither does it stray too much from the expected “menu”: it shows talented experienced musicians who have the freedom to do anything they like without trying to conform to any prevalent tastes.

Whether the band will defy the fans’ expectations and push their limits with another “spherical” oddity, or will unleash a speedy technical beast similar to the one reviewed here next time around, is to anyone’s guessing: the “twisted” truth is that the listener will traditionally be enormously entertained even when he/she secretly begs his/her favourite act to stay more closely to the norms (“Norm! What’s a norm?!”, you can hear Patrick Mameli say scornfully…).