Sunday, May 3, 2009

Obscurity - Damnation's Pride (1987)

A short time after releasing their first demo in 1986, Sweden's Obscurity returned in 1987 with yet another slab of underground Black/Death Metal known as Damnation's Pride. This recording showed improvement in the overall sound, as the production allowed for a much more powerful representation of the band. The songwriting was a bit more varied as well, with the band experimenting with a few things. It was recorded in the same studio as Ovations To Death, which had been rebuilt into a 16-track studio. The Satanic lyrical theme was now absent, except for the title track. Upon releasing this, the band members found themselves a bit more satisfied with their efforts.

"Graves of Rebirth" emerges from the shadows with a slow doom riff and ghoulish hissing, before demonic cries and pounding drums build a bit of tension before the song truly explodes from the darkness to rip your face right off. The riffs and solos still owe a great deal to Speed and Thrash Metal. The pace is relentless and the vocals are still possessed by a deep hatred, as on the previous release.

The title track continues this onslaught, with one curious difference. For the vocals, they chose to use some sort of effect. Not being an expert on studio trickery, it's difficult to say it the vocalist used a harmonizer of some sort or if the effect is caused by a lot of reverb. At any rate, it seems to be utilized for the purpose of adding more of a demonic sound. It works well enough, though it wasn't entirely necessary as it results in a loss of the raw hatred. That isn't a complaint so much as a simple observation.

"Mortal Remains" makes use of more of some mid-paced thrash riffs. This is good, as it displays a little variety in the sound, allowing for the songs to be more easily distinguished. The same vocal effect from the previous track is also present here. The tempo remains consistent throughout the course of the song. It all ends with a very nice lead solo that is played over slow doom riffs.

The demo closes in a furious manner, as "Demented" rushes forward at a frantic pace. The vocals are back to the normal, hate-filled sound and he even lets out a quick high-pitched scream. This song is pretty intense, despite its ephemeral nature, and serves well to bring things to an end.

Damnation's Pride showed that Obscurity had improved in a short amount of time. Judging from this recording, one would think that the band would have put out an L.P. at some point. Unfortunately, it never came to pass. Two brief demos are all that remain of this band. The band name, then, becomes all the more appropriate when thinking of this. This demo is highly recommended. Perhaps, for a glimpse of what an Obscurity L.P. may have sounded like, I would suggest picking up the first Merciless album.