Oblivion - Renewal


 I'm not sure what it is with metalcore bands?  I usually enjoy the first  couple listens, but end up shelving the album out of boredom.  Many  well-known metalcore bands in my collection have suffered this fate.  Living Sacrifice - shelved.  Zao - shelved.  Spitfire - shelved.  Embodyment (old) - shelved.  It  just seems like they all start sounding the same.  Same vocal stylings, same riffs, same everything.  So, when I heard that Oblivion was a metalcore band from Sweden, I was hoping that maybe someone from Europe had a way to grab my attention and then hold it.  The picture of an acoustic guitar engulfed in flames on the back cover intrigued me for sure, but could this Living Sacrifice-influenced band avoid the shelving process?  (Pun intended).

Well, yes and no.  At times I found myself wondering what was for dinner that night, but at times I was on the edge of my seat.  The songs that caught my attention the most were "Renewal of Our Minds" and "How Could You".  Between the songs, the use of some excellent keyboards and haunting background vocals really add some terrific depth and atmosphere to a couple of very brutal tunes.  However, lots of the songs were the same-ole rehashed stuff.  Not that they are copy-cating, but it goes back to that familar sound that most metalcore bands have.  I'd be listening to a song for the first time and I'd be like, "hey, I've heard this song before...who was that band?"  They even do a cover of Living Sacrifice's "Reject".  The first half of the song just drags, but picks up steam on the second half.  The original is much better.
Another thing that got on my nerves was the laid back style of some of the songs.  Granted, the band is very brutal, but they lack aggressiveness sometimes.  Not always, but most of the time.  Gosh, freakin' blow my head off...don't put me to sleep.  If I want some "chillin'" music I'll pop in my Phil Keaggy CD. 
Lyrically, the band does an excellent job!  "How Could You" is one of the standouts, as the band takes the offensive against a "man" who rapes a  little girl.  Screams of "WHY?  How could you?!" make you want to jump up and scream along with them.  Very good stuff!

Oblivion has jumped to the top half of the every-growing metalcore heap, but that is not always saying a whole lot.  The band is talented and will probably garner a lot of fans with this release.  However, it seems I've heard this song somewhere before.  Maybe next time around.  (Review by Matt)