Slovakian death/grind hybrid return with a brand new release. Much more intense and well played than their debut. Definitely for fans of NAPALM DEATH.
Metal Archives [70/100]:
'Tangled Ways' is definitely the sound of Obliterate progressing and maturing as a band, but I'm honestly not sure if it's all for the best. The band's debut, 'The Feelings', was a rather haphazard mixture of oldschool grindcore, death metal, and hardcore punk, which was spirited and interesting but somewhat crippled by a lack of cohesive songwriting. Here, it seems the opposite has occurred: Obliterate's songwriting has sharpened up and streamlined significantly in the intervening years since 'The Feelings', making for a release that's a lot more pleasing to the ear. However, with that streamlining comes the loss of a lot of what made the first Obliterate album so interesting; while the improvement in songwriting is nice, Obliterate lost a lot of their personality with it. While the influence from the Brits was obvious on 'The Feelings', the material Obliterate plays on 'Tangled Ways' is straight mid-era Napalm Death worship. Hell, 'Against Your Will' even uses the exact style of spoken word vocals you'd find on an album like 'Diatribes'- it's that obvious. It's still sort of unusual to hear- who actually imitates that era of Napalm Death- but much of Obliterate's own personality is gone. If you've heard an album like 'Fear, Emptiness, Despair', you know what you're going to get going into this album: a mixture of sleek, modernized death/grind riffs up against midpaced modern hardcore rhythms, more heavily dependent on rhythmic crunching than riff-oriented songwriting. I don't have an intrinsic problem with this- some of Napalm Death's weird experimental shit can be cool. Still, no one's going to do that better than Napalm Death, and Obliterate jettisoning their weirder elements in order to more fully embrace it was probably a bad move. The first Obliterate album had a lot of unique idiosyncrasies: the oddly fill-laden drumming, the wonky guitar riffs desperately trying to match the rhythm section, the erratic stop-and-go pacing. This is a more refined album but ultimately a simpler one for it.
All that being said- it's also a lot more listenable than 'The Feelings' is. That album could get so caught up in its perpetual transitioning that it became tedious when the band simply refused to settle into a grove. On 'Tangled Ways' there's no such problem, and ever track tends to have at least one riff or drum passage which will induce headbanging whether you want it or not. The vocals, also seem to have been more intensely woven into the fabric of the music: the Greenway-style bellows now work in tandem with the rest of the rhythms instead of just being arbitrarily placed, making for a much more even listening experience. This is definitely a big step up in professionalism from the debut, and I can appreciate that.
Whether you like this one or the first more really depends on what you're seeking, be it more avant-garde weirdness or a more solid style of songwriting, but I'd say they're about even. Neither are essential, but the seasoned death metal listener will probably get a kick out of these records. If you find it cheap there's no reason not to give it a try.