While this is not the first band to take the name Obliteration (and I highly doubt that they will be the last) these guys are most definitely THE Obliteration, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. If they do, simply hand them a copy of this album and walk away smugly. It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for extreme metal bands taking it back to the old school sounds of the late eighties/early nineties, and these guys do that so well you’d definitely be forgiven for thinking that they’d actually been plucked straight out of that era. Punk/death crossover riffs are dominant here, giving the record some really aggressive punch when juxtaposed with the breakdowns. Drums that are so fast that they barely make any sense to the listener’s ear and a bass backbone that really drives the album down your throat.
The vocals are a bit more difficult to comment on here; they are undoubtedly fantastic and work well with the music, but due to their almost “Mayhem style”, it makes it really difficult to decide whether you’re listening to a Blackened Death Metal album or a Deathened Black Metal album (if that makes any sense). I can’t quite decide on which genre makes up the skeleton of this release and which one makes up the flesh. While none of this this really matters, it has meant that I’ve had to listen through the tracks quite a few times, which has been really great. I think the band would probably say it was a Death Metal album, but hailing from the same city as the mighty Darkthrone seems to have had a bit of a subconscious effect on them, culminating in some really eerie parts, again, fantastically executed.
Of course, to fit with the atmosphere of this genre, you need to have a slightly underproduced mix. While this really helps with the cold and grim atmosphere, it’s sometimes a shame that some of the parts I really want to hear get lost in the whirlwind, particularly the drums. It almost sounds like Kristian Valbo has a drum kit made up of all the same drums, making it difficult to pick out some of the more complicated sections; it’s a great shame considering what a phenomenal drum performance he puts forward. Thankfully there is no hiding the stunning lead work; every note is as clear as day and we should all be thankful for this, as the solos that spread across this record really highlight the importance of getting a balance between technical proficiency, tone and appropriate phrasing.
It’s hard to say anything bad at all about this record, so I won’t even try. If you like your metal sounding like Morbid Angel/Asphyx crossed with early Black Metal, then you’re probably going to want this record. I can’t recommend this enough. Get it. Immediately.