Obscenity - Atrophied in Anguish (Apostasy Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[8/10] There was a period of time not too long ago when Obscenity appeared to have dropped off the face of the earth. They were on somewhat of a roll with their initial seven full-length releases (between 1992 and 2006), but then nothing else came from the German band. Not even a peep. Suddenly press releases appear and Obscenity was about to release their newest album. So these guys weren’t gone with the wind after all, and that’s cause for celebration.
Enter Atrophied in Anguish and what the world has been given is more of the same from Obscenity, only more focused and refined. Though it’s not technically the same band that existed since before their hiatus – only founding member/guitarist Hendrik Bruns is aboard and original drummer Sascha Knust is back in the fold after 11 years absent – the music and spirit of the savage death metal on Atrophied in Anguish is the same as it was before.
The album combusts with opener “Erase the Divine” which is clearly the highlight of the album. It’s a twisting, turning grotesque monster of pure, malevolent death metal but it’s overflowing with catchy riffs and a crushing, memorable chorus. Though the best song opens the album, it’s not like Atrophied in Anguish suddenly gets worse and worse; that’s hardly the case. In fact, the next most powerful song is closer “Hysterical Illusion” and the two featured tracks are perfect bookends to a terrific album.
Betwixt the front and back ends of the album are raging slabs like the monstrous title track, the pummeling “Perfect Pain” and neck-snapping “Diary of a Scapegoat.” Though Obscenity deliver the sort of death metal that is typically hostile and unrelenting, they have taken their time in creating powerful, individual songs that stick in one’s head. It’s not just a collection of barbarity without purpose like many of their DM brethren. Instead, there’s a sense of groove and an almost pop sensibility to their song structures, which makes the whopping majority of Atrophied in Anguish such a beast.
It’s great to see Obscenity back in the fold after being MIA for more than half a decade. Though their back catalogue doesn’t run parallel with the greatest death metal releases in the history of mankind, they’ve always been a strong, overlooked entity within the metal world. With Atrophied in Anguish, easily their best record to date, maybe they’ll be able to land some more notoriety. Definitely worth scooping up, this one is.