It’s been a long time coming, but tech-grind lunatics Oblivionized have finally delivered an album. Starting out as a 5-man progressive death metal act, the band have found powerful new legs as a trio and Life is a Struggle, Give Up showcases exactly how far the band have come since their 2011 debut EP.
Kicking things off, Lower Your Expectations manages to sum up exactly what Oblivionized are about in less than 2 minutes. The song deals in mind-melting polyrhythms, relentless blast-beats, bile-ridden screams and down-tuned guitar wizardry. This is extremely testing stuff but guitarist Sammy Urwin always chooses the perfect opportunities to lay off the technicality for a moment of groovy, neanderthal-esque head-banging like in the final moments of Cry Yourself to Ash. It’s the perfect combination of utter recklessness and it’s the sort of madness you’d probably get if members of SikTh and Suicide Silence formed a super-group.
The album’s title track is another great example of Oblivionized making technical death metal more palatable. Half way through the track the song changes from an unforgiving attack of guitar tapping and blast-beats to a slower-paced beatdown that wouldn’t feel out of place on an Oceano record. It’s not often we praise a band for using single-chord breakdowns but Oblivionized use them masterfully. Songs like Whore Dogs are all the better for their stylistic shift from angular craziness to riff-heavy sections.
We can’t continue without mentioning the stunning performance of drummer Will Merlin who absolutely decimates his kit throughout this record. A performance this furious deserves a great mix and thankfully this has also been accommodated. Most tech-metal records aim for robot-like precision in their mixes but thankfully every glorious, bass-heavy tom hit and cymbal crash has been captured with the savageness it deserves.
It’s also worth mentioning that Oblivionized’s lack of bassist is actually an element that helps this record. The addition of another guitar could’ve made this album a considerably difficult listening experience as the band’s sound is already breezeblock-thick. Urwin’s guitar-work cuts through the screaming and drumming and adds all the melody the band could ever need. Oblivionized manage to work a little too well considering their limitations.
Life is a Struggle, Give Up is Oblivionized firing on all cylinders. This is an unforgiving attack of tech-metal, grind and deathcore that is sculpted with finite detail and it’s not afraid to hit you over the head with a monolithic riff for good measure. This might be an exhausting ordeal on your first listen, but give it the time it deserves and it will slowly unveil a metal record for the ages.
Oblivionized’s Life is a Struggle, Give Up is released on Secret Law Records later this month. Pre-order it by clicking here.