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Obliveon - From This Day Forward
Review: When Obliveon took on technical metal, they aspired to find a unique voice in a genre that was so rapidly developing it had no boundaries except for a need to convert its songwriting into a form compatible with the unique phrasal style of death metal riffs and the corresponding narrative composition; most efforts sounded like death metal with lumps of other heavy metal styles thrown in, and while parts of From This Day Forward show this clear influence, most of it survives intact through use of lead melodic rhythm riffing over nearly ambient percussion patterns.
Songs introduce themselves with a motif not unlike the head of a Joe Satriani tune: a gentle, self-reflexive melody coordinated with a rigid interpretation of an offbeat-powered rhythmic pattern; they then develop this melody into a series of fuller forms that guide verses and transitions, while choruses interrupt with drum-leading buildups and takedowns. Much like countrymen Voivod, Obliveon harmonize their melodies with power chords of varied shapes, which in conjunction with melodic development gives the music a feel of different planes of evolution intersecting, which underscores its technological theme.
Cadenced vocals accompany these rigid but protean sequences but know when to selectively disappear. As motives build and deconstruct, propelling the song forward, they reveal the melodic and passionate song hidden as if in silhouetted distributed amongst them, and as this kaleidoscopic view distills into a clear vision, they then sacrifice their work with a concluding riff -- this is the source of all metaphysical "heaviness" in metal -- that reduces the conflict to a simplified yet broader context, giving us a sense of being transported, possibly to the new technological world they describe. This synthesis using notes with few chords is reminiscent of both early At the Gates and the shredder guitar wizards of the 1980s.
While this offering does not fall into the roar and blast that characterized death metal of its day, it captures the contemplative and reverent spirit of metal that chooses to express itself in a theodicy of chaos, taking tendrils of tangent and forming them into a bundle from which clarity emerges through a harmony of like parts. Through this artistic device, they are able to merge the speed metal, death metal and neo-black metal impulses of their art and make from it a quieter but clearer metal voice.