Norway placed itself upon the metallic map with its infamous Black Metal scene, something which really took Metal to new Extreme heights. Yet beneath all that there is a rich Death Metal scene. Even Darkthrone’s debut Soulside Journey took a Death Metal path, and Varg Vikernes played his part in the underground Death Metal band Old Funeral. Moving further from that there have been bands such as Cadaver and latterly Slam monoliths Kraanium. So next time you cast judgement over Norway and brand it with blackened savagery, think again of the bubbling Death Metal scene that lies beneath.
History lessons out of the way we come to speak of Obliteration. This Norwegian Death Metal machine came crashing into the Death Metal world with their debut and sophomore releases. Only to once again reach further praise with their 2013 modern classic Black Death Horizon. After wetting our appetites Obliteration have now stormed once again from the gate bringing Cenotaph Obscure to our ears through Indie Recordings. But with much resting upon their shoulders can Obliteration prove to us that they are at the forefront of Norwegian Death Metal?
Straight away we are carried into massive Old School Death Metal riffs which are tinged with notes of Doom and even Black Metal. From the opening titular track onwards we know we are in for a full album experience and overall trip into utter damnation. Eldritch Summoning stands as a perfect midpoint for the album, following the delicate instrumental of Orb. Eldritch Summoning is a perfect representation of all things Obliteration. Dissonant, almost Blackened vocals spew amid Death laden chaos and relentless drums, Cenotaph Obscure isn’t just muddy, it’s musically challenging too.
This is one element that I have always admired with Obliteration and I am glad to see this characteristic continue. The band seem to have an ability to bring the filthiest Death Metal sound into the realm of respectability. We all know Death Metal, it’s angry, ferocious and grizzly but Obliteration are equally accomplished musicians and it shows. Detestation Rite, Onto Damnation and Charnel Plains bring the later half of Cenotaph Obscure to an equally brutalist, yet musically exquisite end. The final track being a heavy, Death Metal soaked totem that leaves the listeners utterly awe struck.
I’ve been a fan of Obliteration since Black Death Horizon and having checked out the bands prior material also I was extremely excited for Cenotaph Obscure. With no disappointment and a continued willingness to develop and destroy Obliteration may well have cemented themselves in the halls of Norwegian Death Metal. The word underrated is thrown around an awful lot but Obliteration are truly deserved of the title. How this band isn’t making more and more waves in the Death Metal scene bewilders me, so if you’re going to do anything today, enter Obliteration.
(8/10 George Caley)