Monday, August 14, 2017

review: Opposer

review by MMB
Darkest Path
release date: February 9th, 2017
label: Morbid Shrine Productions
Opposer is uptempo, nonblasting traditional death metal with melodic guitar solos, and with vocals in the classic style of the prime and early Death/Obituary school. This work is the group's second effort, which follows the 2013 debut Remember the Past. It cannot be an accident that they gave their debut that special and specific title. In addition, if we reasonably postulate that a band's music speaks louder than any word ever can, then their brand of death metal has to express their frustration with the directions that the genre and forms of death metal have taken. Why? Opposer—their name now begins to seem more logical, doesn't it?—makes its case very clearly, succinctly and skillfully on this, the 2017 second album.
The history of the band itself is curious. They have two albums so far, as already mentioned. They began in 2010. Yet, that's not the whole story. Opposer existed in another life before. This is actually a reincarnation, a resurrection or a second chance at life, if you will. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s extreme metal music was reaching every corner of the world and Spain was no different. Thrash and death metal were attracting new recruits everywhere and it convinced some young metal fanatics to form Opposer and join the crusade. By 1992 Opposer was active as a band working to improve its chops. The songs originally had lyrics in Spanish, but as time went on and some member changes took place, they switched over to English. The band recorded several demos, but the instability that young inexperienced demo bands go through caused to them to transform into another band altogether called Moonshine. Eventually, however, the old Opposer would emerge again.
Here we are. Let's see what the situation is with Opposer in 2017 and the second album Darkest Path. Opposer might strike the new listener as different from the vast majority of extreme metal. They do not have any gimmicks, they seem unconcerned about their image, and their music is devoid of any trends, fashions and 2017 stylistic concessions. I wonder what year we would all guess this music is from, if we did not know that it is issued in 2017. I am pretty sure that I would not know. Why? It's probably because the band is convinced that they want a more timeless form of sound. Opposer relies on nothing but the songs themselves to make its case to the audience. Playing fast or playing slow for the sake of it isn’t what the band represents. Given that it is death metal, there's no point in trying to be the heaviest thing ever because it's already heavy. There's none of that singing/growling cliché and there's no attempts at being cool or hip to the current expectations.
The guitar tone is straight from the classic Obituary (or if you want to go back further, it comes from Celtic Frost) school: simple, thick, heavy, direct and catchy. It's also possibly not too different from the tone/heaviness that you find in later, more melodic Bolt Thrower. There is a somewhat melodic component to the tone, and the overall speed is uptempo, perfect for headbanging along with the music. The drumming (Are these real drums?) plays to the song at all times. It's not there as a gimmick or to steal the show. The show is the song, not a particular element of the song. Unfortunately, I cannot hear the bass guitar too much, but I would have liked to hear it more.
The vocals are the old-school scream growling, with a distinctive intonation and the characteristics of long-syllable, slower and more emphasized enunciation. Opposer is about taking your time and savoring the music, so that you can hear what they do, and the vocals are no different: they take center stage when it is appropriate. The growling is one the most characteristic elements of the album. Finally, the last thing to mention is the guitar playing. The riffs have a bit of melody, a bit of a melancholic feel sometimes, and at other times it is just upfront pummeling of power upon power. The solos can be uptempo, too, but they are just as likely to be a bit slower, with melody.
That's the story with Opposer. Those looking for death metal in which the songs are memorable and are the only thing that really matters, then look into this band for some good quality extreme metal.

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