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Review: Obscurity - Tenkterra

Label: Trollzorn Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 42:59
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: February 18, 2011
Reviewed by: Lior "Steinmetal" Stein
Readers Rating

Rated 3.57/5 (71.43%) (7 Votes)

I have this notion that Metal bands that share close similarities in musical composition still have their own unique qualities. Like many other bands in their particular sub-genre, Germany's Obscurity have been taking Epic Metal to level of intensity with both their technical abilities and their sense of melody. Both are used to tell tales inspired by Celtic and Germanic legends. The first band I thought of upon hearing Obscurity was the old Norwegian band Borknagar, and Falkenbach also comes to mind, but there are certainly others.

Obscurity's fifth album, Tenkterra, tells the story of the land of Tenkterr. It is a concept album, which is nothing new in Obscurity's career. How did they make a difference this time? All the band members are professionals, but I would have liked to hear some solo parts to emphasize the story more. What I did like was their use of melody. Even the banal Black Metal trills, used by so many other bands, were incorporated into their music well. They used some modern Death Metal elements to great effect as well. Writing lyrics in German certainly isn't new for Pagan/Viking Metal, but making such direct and straightforward music is somewhat atypical. Unfortunately, the music didn't help me understand the story, and since I don't understand German, I found it hard to share the story.

Obscurity might have taken some elements of Folk Metal, which has a strong connection with the Viking style, to help make their intentions known. Instead, Tenkterra sounds like a wild mix of modern and old school Black and Death Metal. The debut albums by In Flames and Dark Tranquility are quite similar in style. With their straightforwardness, Obscurity may have missed the point of Viking Metal, instead trying something new with the old legends. Tenkterra is impressive and Obscurity made it sound and feel great. However, I think they fell a bit short of their original idea and it turned into something different.

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