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Review

Crematory – Oblivion Review

Band: Crematory
Album: Oblivion
Label: Steamhammer/SPV
Genre: Gothic/Industrial Metal
Country: Germany
Release Date: 13 April, 2018

Oblivion is the newest record by legendary goth-metal band Crematory. This group has seen commercial success in their tenure and with a new record every couple years they keep moving along the path they have beaten down for themselves. The only problem with taking the beaten path is that sometimes there is a fork in the road leading either to the easy way, or the hard way. The hard way takes longer but has a better payoff, and the easy way requires less work to complete but brings less satisfaction. Crematory took the easy road with this one and it sure shows.

Besides an absolutely wonderful quality production mix and insanely good sound, there is not much to this record that really makes it stand out above other releases this year. Crematory boast a new lineup (only a couple years old) including a new lead guitarist, but I’m not sure if we even hear it under the basic rhythm chunks you get through the whole album. It’s common with industrial metal to maintain a steady tempo with heavy beat patterns, but this record fell short of even allowing each song to be unique.

From the very first push of the play button on Expectation you get a sense of outdated material concepts when the record introduces itself over triumphant programmed symphonics, as if the cover art did not tell us this before hand. Salvation is the second track but first real song. It is heavy hitting, rhythmically solid in its drive, but is almost ruined by the karaoke style vocal runs that have no business in this song.

So far, this sounds like one of those albums that your dad picks up and gives you in an attempt to bond over something besides his long-term disappointment in you. It is heavy enough to fit the bill, but still sounds like your cousins bar-band that keeps sending you invites to their empty live shows.

If you think you can pick up a dated sounding industrial-goth metal record without hearing a ballad, then you don’t know Crematory. Stay With Me is almost a plea for you to continue listening to the record because of how mind-numbingly similar each track sounds. Set the needle on Stay With Me for lyrics that are almost straight out of some sad teenage kids poem book, and a rhyming scheme so consistent it is almost comical.

The title track, Oblivion, includes more of the same. This track is a clean-mess of perfectly recorded music that is basic in structure. Believe me, this song “sounds” good like all the others, but it is a pretty bow-tie on a box of nothing. Lyric-wise, they are giving you the same bullshit again in Oblivion: The end is near, the beginning is ending, end of the line, blah, blah… At this point in the record you will notice most songs seem to share a theme.

I will say that this is Crematory’s most well produced album, but that is to be expected from a band with such a huge catalog and tons of studio experience. It’s not often you get such clear vocals and instrumentation from a majority of the metal genres. The drums and bass guitar are recorded so well and so heavy it’s ridiculous how overpowering they are on this album. My only problem with that is that when I think of old Crematory music, I think about great double bass drum rhythms that match guitar riffs so well but this record seems to lack the skill we admired from them.

For the sake of fairness, If this were a band more junior in age than Crematory I feel like I couldn’t be as hard on the record as I’m being. But this band has been through the trials of time with various lineup changes over the years, a massive catalog of music, and more than enough experience to know that you can’t just take the easy route when making an album this late in a career and insist that we should like it. Seems to me like Crematory spent all their focus and time on making some really theatrical symphonic backing music when they could have spent more effort on writing the music we know them for. They may be going for a more commercial feel with a “less is more” attitude but they have been around long enough to be compared to their previous works. Crematory has released a record every couple of years since their debut, but maybe next time they should take their time because this one didn’t seem to make the cut.

Rating: 5/10

Tracklist:

1. Expectation
2. Salvation
3. Ghost Of The Past
4. Until The Dawn
5. Revenge Is Mine
6. Wrong Side
7. Stay With Me
8. For All Of Us
9. Immortal
10. Oblivion
11. Cemetery Stillness
12. Blessed
13. Demon Inside

Total Playing Time: 53:21

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