Home > Music > Obliveon – Nemesis (1993)

Obliveon – Nemesis (1993)

folderWhen I first heard of this album/artist combo, my first thought was, “Man, those guys must REALLY love Alton Towers!” I kid. I probably gave the actual music on here some consideration before making that quip for the first time. Nemesis is a bit of an oddity, in that it merges elements of death metal, thrash metal, and progressive rock into a mid-paced concoction that rarely clearly resembles any one of its main elements. The emphasis here is on a clean, almost ‘sterile’ production and rhythmic approach which is responsible for creating this album’s aesthetic.

Technically, the style of riffs here is something I don’t see very often, but seem to associate with a certain sort of speed metal favored by bands like Exodus and Exhorder. Essentially, they’re composed of midpaced monophonic phrases with chords at the syncopated moments of emphasis. People seem to describe this sort of guitar style as “bouncy”, but Nemesis doesn’t fully embrace that aesthetic, primarily because the drumming tends to fill the spots between major beats with more hits. Understanding this is one major key to understanding the band’s musical language. The other (one I’m far more attuned to looking at) is in the actual tonality and chord progressions of the riffs. The rhythmic patterns do bear some relevance here, as the alternation between chords and monophonic phrases allows the riffs to explore more progressions than a more consonant approach while still providing some harmonic backing.

If that sounds like an attempted compromise between extreme metal styles and more conventional rock music, that’s because it is… although rarely does metal fully separate itself from its rock roots. Much much of this album functions as a sort of bridge between the styles I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Further adding to this effect are the lack of blastbeats, the “somewhat faster than midpaced” tempo (Musicians might suggest “allegro”, although metal definitions of tempo tend to be a bit different from the Italian terms used in Western classical), and the vocals, which are harsh, but not nearly as low pitched as your average death growl even by the standards of 1993. The songwriting, though is closer to the “death metal” ideal, in that it goes more for the “riff salad” approach with limited choruses. Combined with the clean production and relatively sparse instrumentation, Nemesis ends up an easy listen, unlikely to take the average user much time to digest and form opinions on.

In other words, one could interpret this as an “introductory death metal” sort of album, give it a few spins, and discard it when they’ve developed their ability to understand and accept more difficult aesthetics. That’d be a mistake, since Nemesis has memorable and coherent compositions even if they don’t particularly hide much from the listener. On the other hand, this relative simplicity of approach does restrict the band’s compositional frontiers – this would be a superb album if it had more dynamic range. Longer compositions might have also helped, since the band has a good framework for building further. On the other hand, Cybervoid traded in much of this complexity for being the poor man’s Fear Factory with more syncopated rhythms. Can’t win them all.

Highlights: “Nemesis”, “Dynamo”, “Frosted Avowals”

  1. VVar
    2016/07/04 at 11:36

    Great review, mate. Saw it on metallum.

    One of my favorite albums ever.

  1. 2014/03/20 at 23:32
  2. 2017/11/30 at 19:37

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