You know those people who start an activity, get good at it, and start fucking doing things differently in order to make the process more fun and challenging for them? Man. Hate those people. Stop being so motivated! Though I do admit there’s that sliver of jealously where I wonder why I, too, can’t be painfully good at something other than losing to panic attacks.
Obsolete, a goddamn death/thrash amalgamation that hails from Minnesota, is here to make you look really stupid with their full-length debut “Animate//Isolate.” They can’t just play this stuff straightforward. No no. They have to make it tricky and weird and cosmic and fucking so good that it makes your teeth hurt. This nine-track album is actually the perfect antidote to monotony, and not just with music. Add it to your own life when you can’t get going or when you need to think differently or whatever. This band—vocalist/guitarist Lucas Scott, guitarist Scott Fryxell, bassist Dan Lee, drummer Pat Ruhland—make it impossible to remove your attention or even relax. You’re constantly on guard here as they rip out weird wrinkle after strange turn, taking your stomach and mind with them.
“Still” blasts open with punchy and tricky playing and gruff shrieks with the drums absolutely pummeled. The playing is both vicious and melodic with strong leads ripping through, snaking to a smoking finish. “The Atrophy of Will” starts with a proggy burst and blistering vocals carving paths, spilling all over the place. The guitars jolt as things gets thrashy and furious as your guts absolutely shake. The leads ignite as the sounds lather, crushing everything in its path. “The Slough” is tricky when it starts, unloading a plastering pace, tangling your brain wiring. The pace gets adventurous and fiery, just laying into a speedy assault, getting fluid and lightning strong as things go. The playing is colorful and creative, burning through layers and leaving you in charred ashes. “Old Horizon” blasts through your chest as it opens, with the playing leaving you confused and frightened and the bassline snapping through. The prog fires are agitated as grisly vocals stretch flesh, the drums destroy, and everything ends in rubble.
“Silent Freeway” unloads sinister riffs that tears the track open, then meaty thrashing and splattering vocals team up and take you down. Your brain starts to melt from the intensity, the bass plasters, and the track flies into oblivion. “Stumbling and Listless” lets the riffs slice through, surging and mashing as the track flattens you. The guitars pick up speed as the roars punish, and the ambitious pace leads to the drums smoking, the leads picking up a rage, the end melting through rock. “The Fog” slips in with jarring leads and fluttering playing as the pace just chugs. The guitars zip all over the place as the vocals mar, with the madness opening anew and everything coming to a blistering end. “Callousness of Soul” opens on fire as the vocals swallow you whole, and the playing rushes and tangles. The bass tramples as the speed continues to get more intense, and then everything blasts shut, ripping the oxygen from your lungs. “Intercostal” finishes the record with prog fires spreading all over everything, as the guitars going off to explore. The pace is muddy and clubbing as it mauls whatever is in its way, tying up loose limbs and then breaking them. Nasty vocals corrode, and the band keeps smashing until the end melts away.
“Animate//Isolate” is not a straightforward record by any means, and that’s by design as Obsolete aim to take what’s in their heads and spit it out in a way designed to confuse and terrify, which they do often on these nine tracks. From my first experience with the album, I could tell something different was in front of me, and hopefully the descriptions of the music above come at least close to capturing this thing. It’s a hell of an experience, something that’ll make your mind feel squashed when it’s over.
For more on the band, go here: https://obsoleteband.bandcamp.com/releases
To buy the album, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/purchase/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.unspeakableaxerecords.com/