Well, German gothic metal vets Crematory surely haven’t covered themselves in glory with their – or rather drummer Markus Jüllich’s – flaming binge against modern music industry and their own fans. Reading the comments to their video for “Salvation”, a track off new album Oblivion, they seem to have either lost a lot of fans or drawn some haters with this. Probably both. Elaborate marketing scheme or honest loss of temper; either way it is a shame to sully the name of the band who delivered such classics as “Tears Of Time”.
It is also a shame as Oblivion is a pretty good album compared to Crematory‘s more recent efforts, although you certainly would not expect that listening to the first track of the album, the mentioned “Salvation”. Standard industrial rock with a slightly too pop chorus of this sort doesn’t pass for anything more than mediocre and the atrocious video does the rest. It’s a single, what to expect? Pass, next.
The first highlight awaits by the name of “Ghosts Of The Past”, a clear callback to Crematory‘s ’90s sound with its bittersweet piano lines and the Crematory-typical change of pitch mid-song. Paired with a catchy yet not tacky chorus, “Ghosts Of The Past” packs what the band has been missing lately, a genuine identity, and thus is one of the few stand-out tracks on Oblivion. While songs like the following “Until The Dawn”, “Revenge Is Mine”, or even title track “Oblivion” cling to memory pretty quickly, they are only average Crematory-gothic fare.
The other crescendo in Oblivion‘s musical quality is “Immortal”, a truly straight-forward industrial metal banger garnished with the most haunting chorus of the album. This is the track that turned my opinion on the album around after being admittedly prejudiced after Mr. Jüllich’s facebook rant. Sadly, real apices like “Immortal” are rare on Oblivion, even though most tracks at least deliver a catchy hook. Oblivion‘s low point is “Stay With Me”, probably the tackiest ballad ever produced by the band. However, I bet you there’s a target audience among Crematory fans for that as well. After all, with their mix of easy melodies and heavier tunes the Germans appeal to a wide swath.
Oblivion basically follows the footsteps of other recent Crematory outputs. Some great tracks, even though Oblivion‘s are greater than those of the other albums, but mostly run-of-the-mill gothic/industrial rock/metal pretty close to the mainstream. No big surprises to be expected from Crematory anymore seemingly, especially not in the future when the band will ultimately disband according to Mr. Jüllich because we all only use spotify.