Released: 2005, Woodcut Records
Reportedly Finland’s Obscurant started off as death metal, well, Obscurant may be death metal, but not the kind you’re thinking of, at least not on FIRST DEGREE SUICIDE. This isn’t old school death metal, nor is it brutal death metal, or black/death or any other style that will instantly come to mind. If it’s even death metal at all, Obscurant would be like taking all of Hypocrisy’s mid-paced tracks from ABDUCTED to HYPORCISY, taking away some of the atmosphere, and adding a bit more of a rock and roll base.
Now I’m sure that description will have some people piss their pants with glee, hell, if someone told me I could hear a band like that I’d probably piss my pants too but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While Obscurant’s style is theoretically a great idea it doesn’t work on a full-length album and here’s why: DYNAMICS. The whole damn album plods along at the same speed for far too long. Now each song taken on its own sounds quite good, maybe not absolutely amazing, nor are they the cream of the crop but they sound good and are rather enjoyable. Make it a full album and I’m reaching for the stop button halfway through. Certainly the band doesn’t have to make some fast blasting sections, but there has to be something the band can do to create something to keep the listener’s attention.
Production-wise the album is like what one would/should expect, hell it sounds like it came right out of Abyss Studios in its heyday, at least when just about every European band was recording there. The over digitized guitar sound heavy on the treble, the hi-hat dominated mix, the keyboards sitting right behind the guitars with a slightly “spaced out” sound. It’s all here and just like Hypocrisy did it in the mid-late 90’s. Not to say it’s a bad thing, well, it kind of is since Obscurant are just trying to ape Hypocrisy’s sound but they do a damn good job of it, I’m honestly rather impressed that they do the style and sound such justice.
FIRST DEGREE SUICIDE is an album you might get through the first listen, but that Hypocrisy worship thing will wear off soon enough and you’ll notice how Obscurant’s music just plods along at the same speed over and over and over. You’ll be begging not to hear that 1-2 standard rock beat again. Theoretically Obscurant are good, realistically, like communism, there’s not much good going on here.