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Album Reviews : Obscura – Retribution

By on September 10, 2010

One of the great things about listening to any music (but especially metal!) is being pleasantly surprised when listening to an album you’ve never heard before. That was case when I eagerly commenced listening to the re issue of Retribution, the first full length album from seminal German death metal act Obscura. Admittedly I had only dabbled as an Obscura fan since first hearing their most recent album (Cosmogenesis) but had always held a heady respect for their commitment to the core values of death metal and the sounds of its pioneers.

First to Obscura’s original content – Clearly a band that prides themselves on technical proficiency, this remixed and remastered set of 10 original tracks is a testament to the early 2000’s era sounds of death metal – scooped and dry yet heavy distortion in the guitars, great blasting combined with a solid kick drum sound and guttural yet surprisingly understandable vocals. The 10 remastered originals also contain plenty of diminished chords / harmonies and speed picking to round the album out. Stand out tracks include Exit Life, Unhinged and Hymn to A Nocturnal Visitor although the production quality of the album is such that any punter with a metal leaning would be impressed with most tracks in the album.

Secondly, it was a great surprise to see (and hear!) the bonus tracks offered by Obscura with this album: a cover of Synthetically Revived by death metal gods Suffocation, a cover of God of Emptiness by death metal royalty Morbid Angel and the absolute clincher, a cover of Lack of Comprehension by Death, undoubtedly the greatest death metal band in history (in my opinion).

They are clearly influenced by the bands they chose to cover with the latter tracks in this album (not to mention GorgutsObscura’s title was clearly taken from the album of the same name). With Retribution, Obscura remind us of all the great aspects of death / tech metal and they and have also done their influences proud with the covers provided in this re issue. Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery and with these covers, Obscura have turned a good album into a must have.

Band: Obscura
Album: Retribution (remastered reissue)
Year: 2010
Genre: technical death metal
Origin: Germany
Label: Relapse/Riot!

Track listing:
1. Humankind
2. Nothing
3. Unhinged
4. None Shall Be Spared
5. Alone
6. Hymn to a Nocturnal Visitor
7. Hate Anthem
8. Exit Life
9. Sentiment
10. Sweet Silence
11. Lack of Comprehension (Death cover)
12. Synthetically Revived (Suffocation cover)
13. God of Emptiness (Morbid Angel cover)

Reviewed by Gobz


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.