25 Jan 2013

Sanity Obscure - Subterranean Constellation [Full length] (2012, Self-released)

When I read that Sanity Obscure was for fans of such bands as Pestilence, Nocturnus, Coroner, Vektor, Atheist and Death it naturally created very high expectations with me. I consider myself a pretty big fan of especially Nocturnus and Vektor, so if Sanity Obscure are anything like them that's a start at least.

As the album starts out with Dreams - Manifestations I got some almost jazzy vibes from them, and the portrait Sanity Obscure were starting to paint was indeed somewhat akin to those created by Nocturnus in the 80's. Throughout the album there are profound nods to those legends they worship, and from the amount of quite formidable bands the band itself lists as major influences it seems relevant to ask whether or not Sanity Obscure manages to fill their shoes.

From the first few listens I wasn't entirely convinced that Sanity Obscure were "mature" enough to wield the mantel of such revered bands, but tracks like Rise of the Machines forced away my doubt. They almost added up to my expectations, neatly combining elements from many progressive and technical bands from the 80's and early 90's, and their sound and songwriting does bear certain hints of both thrash and death metal. But one of the things that made the album appear like a mishmash og things is the myriad of elements they're commandeering into their sound. I like the fact that there is so much variation, but when Patient Zero goes from Nocturnus-esque chugging riffs to melo-death-ish melodies to chugging powered by blast beats it makes it sound like, to me, that they're not entirely sure what they want to play or like they're taking on too many influences. Regardless of that the Singaporean quintet got away with making some really enjoyable technical death/thrash by reusing the ideas of their idols. I especially enjoy the semi-progressive riffing tendencies, the widely varied vocal performances, the insisting bass and the variation of the drums.

To answer the question I posed in the second paragraph, Sanity Obscure doesn't quite amount to the greatness of the bands listed. Obviously it's tough to surpass such bands, and the reason for this is that those bands are unique. To be truly unique Sanity Obscure would have to combine and distill all the revolutionizing elements of Atheist, Nocturnus and Death into something amazing, but they never really succeed in detaching themselves from the incongruent mass of technical bands out there, and ultimately they amount to little more than a fairly skilled but very enjoyable tribute band. 6/10 guitars. 7/10 guitars.

1. Dreams - Manifestations
2. Rise of the Machines
3. Incarceration Divine
4. Synergistic Permutations
5. Patient Zero
6. Doublethink
7. Hyperboreas
8. Afflicted Mind

SANITY OBSCURE official facebook

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