Reviewed: August, 2019
Released: 2019, Divebomb Records
Reviewer: Jesse Edwards
The first thing to raise an eyebrow was, unsurprisingly, that front cover… the longer you look at it, the more hideous it becomes! God-awful artwork aside, I was impressed by the classy production and musicianship contained within; and it was instantly clear that ERADIKATOR had certainly honed their skills over a 9-year career of thrash-riffery, however, therein lies the problem (for me): ERADIKATOR no longer play proper thrash!
What we have in Obscura is some extremely melodic thrash mixed with tinges of nu-metal, and it’s all so very predictable. Having cruised my way through the opening numbers, it wasn’t until the fifth track, ‘Hourglass’, that the band truly grabbed my attention. An interesting verse riff jumps about the fretboard and demonstrates a new found sense of adventure in what is one of the more interesting tracks on the album.
The next track, ‘Eyes Of Old’ pricked up my ears, but it’s a frustratingly mixed affair. Impressive production and musicianship throughout what is a rather predictable and uninspired song leads to a major gear shift around the 2-minute mark, and if you can make it that far without hitting the skip button, you’d better prep-your-neck! ERADIKATOR fire up the thrusters and achieve, albeit briefly, lift off! Excellent solo work combined with impressive tempo changes propel the band towards one of the highlights of the album, only for the exciting crescendo to resolve to an all too predictable conclusion. It’s a real shame, that mid-section kicked some serious-ass! The transition to such an uninspired chug topped with “Anselmo-esque” spoken word felt plain lazy. It’s still one of the better songs on the album, but the combination of ideas felt forced and out of place.
The vocals are definitely “different”, think Kurt Cobain on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and you’ll have the style and range used by lead vocalist Pat Cox throughout Obscura. I took a strong disliking to this vocal style early on and they only proceeded to grate on me further as the album progressed. The distinct “nu-metal” undertones were another sticking point for me, a term I use loosely in reference to the popular metal of the 2000’s. Let’s take the final track, ‘Siren Song’: if you’d have told me this was a new Chad Kroeger project, I’d have believed you! ERADIKATOR’s new tendency to draw inspiration from those “glory days” of nu-metal may not be a bad thing for their new target audience, but I like my thrash old-school and ratty, of which Obscura is neither.
I don’t want to sound too critical here; I’d never heard of ERADIKATOR before listening to Obscura, and I dare say there’s a large audience for their new brand of melodic thrash metal. The album has been wonderfully produced, and the band possess some impressive musical chops. So if you’re looking for something melodic, I’d certainly give Obscura a push in your general direction, albeit with the use of a big stick.
P.S. I have since explored some of the band’s previous offerings and have confirmed much-higher-levels-of-thrash! It seems that Obscura brings a distinct change in direction for the band in an attempt to appeal to a wider target audience, and I therefore issue a sincere WARNING to anyone expecting ERADIKATOR’s classic sound.