Of the numerous bands called Obscurity, this is the one from Germany. I suppose the album’s Germanic title is a giveaway on that score. The offer is Battle Metal comprising black, death and Viking elements. It all points to war.
“Streitmacht” is fast and hard-hitting from the off. “793”, with its predictable chorus of “Sieben Neun Drei”, blows away any cobwebs with heavy artillery. Actually it’s melodic and almost a heavier version of Crematory. This is Obscurity’s eighth album so as you’d expect it’s tight. It’s clear that their forte is rousing, passionate death metal anthems. “Meine Vergeltung” (My Retribution) hammers and growls away, with breaks for guitar sections. But we’re never far away from the front line here. There’s no place for wimps. The army advances as “Streitmacht Bergisch Land” begins. The march is interrupted by more thundery growliness of a bellicose nature. “Streitmacht Bergisch Land” is the predictable battle cry. But Obscurity manage the breaks well, otherwise this could be teutonically predictable. Fire, intensity and technique cover the predictability.
To be honest, what I heard here was one ferocious black metal war song after another. Pounding drums, menacing and often melodic guitar work and well-worked tight structures are the order of the day. “Todesengel” (Death Angel) threatens to break the mould with its opening portents of impending catastrophe. I appreciated the more expansive structure and cautious development. It builds up and as a break from the eternal assault, “Todesengel” has more twists and epic content than what I had heard to this point. “Endzeit” brings us back to where we were, with the withering riff, firepower and an odd spoken growly bit added in. “Herbstfeldzüge” (Autumn Campaigns) is more of an old school piece of pounding death metal, uncompromising and driving. Its constant beat entices us in to its dark interior. This, I guess is the German version of Amon Amarth. “Ehre den Gefallened” (Honour to the Fallen) passed me by, but at least “Was Uns Bleibt” (What Is Left for Us) has energy and provides a suitably rousing finish.
These ten songs of war and catastrophe are very much as advertised. “Streitmacht” is clinical and very German, I must say. It upholds strength, but powerful as its delivery is, I did not on the whole derive strength from it and whilst appreciating the co-ordination of theme and technique, I actually found it to be a bit tired in its formula.
(6/10 Andrew Doherty)