Oblivion - Cyclogenesis: Songs for Armageddon
Written By: Dustin Koetsch
Here at Heavy Metal History, one of our goals with this podcast as well as our reviews are to bring light to bands that got lost to the annals of time, bands that for one reason or another never quite made it to the “mainstream” but still had some moderate success and still put out quality and awesome albums that people may or may not have forgotten or never found and discovered at all. We aim to help people, metalhead and music lovers alike find these bands. The following review is about one such band.
An old acquaintance of mine named Matt Rudzinski runs a label called Divebomb that just so happens to accomplish that mission, to pull these bands back from the depths of obscurity and remaster their music for the world to discover once again. Matt has painstakingly put a lot of time and effort into each and every one of these releases and his passion for the music and these bands is very apparent.
So I present to you a look back as well as forward with my review of “Cyclogenesis: Songs for Armageddon” by a band called Oblivion, this record is a 2 disc jam packed thrash metal/hardcore punk ripper. This record was put out through dive bomb and it masterfully recollects all of Oblivions demos released between 1985-1990 as well as 2 live tracks.
This album is full of ripper after ripper of thrash metal madness. It confounds me that Oblivion was never a mainstay or more well known band in the Thrash scene of the 80’s, their demos were all released during the Thrash boom, but seemingly plagued with endless line up changes the band could never quite find their footing. So it stands for one reason or another they never quite took off. While I may not have the answers to those questions at the moment, lets really get into this record.
“Cyclogenesis: Songs for Armageddon” has 35 tracks to digest over the course of this record, and while it may seem daunting at first, there's really very few tracks that are “skippable”(I’ll get to the less desirable songs in a moment) but there are a great deal of stand out songs on here that really catch your attention. You have endless manic thrash riffs infused with shredding guitar lead madness and equally punishing rhythmic drums that are rarely ever playing a dull or generic thrash beat that really rounds out the bands sound.
Just to be clear and upfront Ive never heard the original recordings of any of these songs, just this new remastered edition of them. The way they were remastered definitely brings out a lot of the nuance in the bands sound, the guitar solos are clean and vibrant, the riffs are omnipresent and you can very clearly hear the bass guitar, sometimes a little too much to the point where it overpowers the guitars in the mix, it also just sticks out in odd places. The vocals some times sound a little “tinny” and “metallic” sounding depending on the recording but its never enough to really hurt the songs like the bass does, and the delivery at times, is very reminiscent of Harley Flannagan era Cro-Mags. There are very few weak songs on this double album, every song sounds well crafted and written, there's rarely anything generic or dull on this record. In fact, the song “Germ Warfare” has a riff that was used (i won’t say ripped off) by the band Himsa in the song “Loveless and Goodbye” in 2003. So go check that out because both songs are equally catchy as hell! Other stand out tracks include “Scarred for Life”, “Necrocide” and “Waste of Life”
Now, the one thing that doesn’t quite work for me on these records are the live tracks, I cant fathom why these were included because every fuck up in so incredibly apparent on these tracks, everything from the guitars not playing in sync to the vocals being off or just too loud. They simply don’t fit and unfortunately show the bands weak point. And on top of that, the tracks just don’t sound good, it sounds like you’re listening to bad youtube audio. They should have been left off this compilation, because everything else works so well until these three tracks.
All of these things are what immediately got my attention about this band and record, Oblivion doesn’t really sound comparable to ANY other thrash band of that era if I’m being honest. Sure you can most likely find a few hints and influences scattered throughout, but not enough to call them a copycat of any one band. Oblivion’s sound in uniquely their own.
So with all that being said go check out this buried treasure that was forged from the depths of the wonder years of Thrash. You won’t regret it.
"Cyclogenesis: Songs for Armageddon" gets a solid 6/10