Released: 2007, Prodisk
As the ‘90s pressed on and alternative/grunge took over the airwaves, thrash became one of the first “casualties” of metal. As we know, most thrash bands disappeared for a time (Exodus), or morphed into something new, and arguably heavier (though most definitely shittier – Sepultura). Up and coming bands who hadn’t had time to create an established fan base were left out in the cold, which brings us to Quebec’s Obliveon. Their first two albums were critically acclaimed slabs of futuristic thrash, but the band seemed to be treading water. Solution? Bring in a new vocalist Bruno Bernier, and change the music from labyrinthine thrash assaults to more condensed, groovier, metallic bombardments, all the while continuing the star-gazing robot-love of previous albums.
Released in 1996, CYBERVOID was the result of these new efforts, sending Obliveon even farther space-ward, while keeping the heaviness of old. Listening to this album 12 years after the fact, it’s funny to hear how much nu-metal (mallcore!) crept into the sound; or influenced nu-metal. In fairness though, this is about a million times better than any mallcore album ever recorded, as the technicality remains intact, and the metal far outweighs the “nu”. In fact, the neck-wringing riffs here could rival any of Meshuggah’s output.
However, I’ve never enjoyed Meshuggah’s work, despite the quality and musicianship. The same goes for Obliveon; the talent is obvious, the riffs crushing, but it’s all so mechanical that I derive very limited enjoyment from it. I imagine that this was quite an off-putting album for Obliveon fans, as it is so different from the previous albums. The core of the band survived the change, but the original sound was gone. I guess they confused enough fans (or didn’t connect with new ones), as the band would release one more critically acclaimed, commercially ignored album (CARNIVORE MOTHERMOUTH) before folding in 2002.