Album: Obscure Deathworship
Released date: August 17th, 2018
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Warmaster Productions
One of the Philippine extreme metal bands that I always keep my radar is the San Pablo-based death metal quartet, Pathogen. The reason behind this is because the band had never disappointed their listeners with the releases that they had unfettered all these years. In every demo and studio record that they had put out, Pathogen had showcased how they can consistently offer more than of those generic and typical death metal acts swarming the death metal scene these days can offer.
More than a year after Pathogen had released their crushing and obscure magnum opus “Ashes of Eternity“, the band had unchained their fifth full-length studio album “Obscure Deathworship” last month of August this year. Released under Malaysia‘s Warmaster Productions, this latest offering is limited to only 150 copies and I went through a lot of difficulties before I was able to grab my copy because the cassette had already gone sold out just hours after it was announced available for order. Lucky for me that a contact of mine, James David of Dethrone Records Philippines, had a couple of spare copies of the album and he was selling them.
Now, in my own point of view, “Obscure Deathworship” stands tall above the bulk of Pathogen’s notable output throughout their career in crafting death metal music. One of the reasons behind this is that the materials in this latest record hold the existence of numerous massive and crushing tracks which carries the crunchy and distorted mists of the guitar work, and a handful of guitar solos, that would envelop the listeners in a mass of dissonant dementia. Willie and Alex had done a great job playing their roles in this opus. Both had provided blazing performances in the guitar department as they have dispensed quite memorable riffs, episodic solos, and even a few atmospheric doom-laden riffs which fit perfectly in the album.
Although not that very discernible in sound, the presence of the bass can still be felt by the listeners. Nino Jerome‘s bass lines never really go beyond backing the guitar department, but one can easily notice them sitting beneath the more obvious sections of the Pathogen’s music. The guy may not be a bass player of aptitude, but he most certainly gets the job done in supplying assistance of brutality beneath the sawing guitar riffs distributed by Willie and Alex. Vic‘s drumming in this album is pretty old school. The dude is as humble on his hammering as he always was, but it doesn’t hide the fact that his performance here displays his versatility and agile drumming ability. Vic pitches in some quick on the uptake fills where it is necessary and he shows great prudence in the fast sections of the record by not going too fast. The prudence he displays during the faster sections of the songs makes this opus even better because the drums don’t draw away the listeners from all the other elements.
Willie‘s inhuman vocal delivery in here is hair-splitting and superb. His vocal performance is an equal part of the abysmal whole that “Obscure Deathworship” showers upon its listeners. From below the infernal regions, his voice punishes those who dare listens to this magnum opus. In fact, the moment I hear him uttering the lyrics of the tracks in this album I felt like he is conjuring ancient invocations to summon an archaic beast channeled directly from the very depths of the abyss. And it is not just Willie‘s vocal that had impressed me about the guy, as we can easily notice his brilliant lyrics writing in this album. Reading the lyrics to the track ‘A New Dragonian Century‘ made me truly comprehend how the dude is a such a clever songwriter. And if you are familiar with his other project Omenfilth, you would find that Willie really knows his way in composing lyrics which plunges into a more introspective pondering. If you already have a copy of this material, try reading the lyrics of the tunes ‘Ashen Surreality‘, ‘The Womb of Rot‘, ‘Agrimony‘, and ‘Graveyard of Empires‘ to indubitably fathom how this guy is such an impressive composer.
I applaud Pathogen, not only for the evenhandedness of all the members’ performances in “Obscure Deathworship“, but also their songwriting as well. The band’s songwriting is once again amazing as always, with the arrangements suiting the group’s music very well. These guys exhibit some stirring songwriting with a lot of changing rhythms in numerous part of the album, and they most importantly emphasize that in the doomy and ominous parts. That aspect is the pinnacle of the tunes they appear on. Pathogen keeps the drumming to a perfect balance, bring to the fore the tyrannizing and usually more twisted riffs, as well as they bring the vocals to the front line. On the production end of the material, it won’t bother the listeners either, as it is lucid but natural in its manner. The record sounds very dark and raw, but each instrument and element can be apprehended well.
To those of you who haven’t heard of this latest Pathogen offering and consider yourselves death metal fans, you guys are truly missing out on an opus that is truly catchy and haunting. Everything in this album — from the riffs, arrangements, lyrics, and performances — is of excellence. The whole thing is concentrated into an enormous changing of tempo from slow to fast to mid-paced at its own inclination and wrenching its listeners back and forth on a roller-coaster ride of anguish and torment that only a few death metal bands can evoke. That said, “Obscure Deathworship” is heavy enough to crush its audience instantaneously, and it most certainly does, staggering towards us mortals in an ancient, colossal reverberate that will make each and every one of us fear the unknown.
For the few lucky ones of us who have scored a copy of this magnum opus, we have racked up an album that is truly worthy to be added to our pile of extreme metal music collection. To those who weren’t lucky enough to bag a copy, I suggest you fellas to go hunt it down and you might be lucky enough to find someone who has a spare copy which he/she would trade or sell that extra copy to you.