Back with their fourth album, German melodic death metal act Nailed to Obscurity had a lot to live up to after the success of their last release, ‘King Delusion’, and I think it is safe to say they have somewhat missed the mark. They have always been known for channelling the likes of Opeth and Katatonia, but whereas both those bands (mostly) stay on track and deliver, what we have here is an album which is veering between multiple genres and consequently not hitting any of them. The death metal really only works with the vocals as the guitars aren’t punchy enough, while the soft gentle metalcore doesn’t get me worked up at all and the more progressive segments just makes one believe they don’t really know what they want to achieve. It feels padded and needed a strong producer to not only capture the sound (which is excellent, probably the best thing about the whole album), but also assist them in being more direct.
Most of the songs have strong sections, but few carry that through the whole length. Take the introduction to “The Aberrant Host” for example, it is really promising and exciting and when the death growls come in the band are doing a really good power metal/symphonic metal take underneath. It is just a shame there are some spoken/gently sung vocals prior to that (and afterwards) which should have been gently erased as all they do is make the listener wonder what on earth are the band playing at. It is the lack of focus and direction which hurts this album, which repeated plays do nothing to address, as all I kept wondering when I was playing it was what were they thinking? They have definitely moved much further into the Opeth direction, but without the direction that Mikael Åkerfeldt is able to display. Not one to which I can see me returning to in a hurry.