CD Review

Oblivion – “Remixed”

By Marcus Pan

RemixedOblivion first popped up nearly two decades ago. Beginning in 1987, they thrashed about for about five years until breaking up in 1992. In that time they’ve shared the stage with one of my favorites – New York’s Biohazard. I wonder if maybe I’ve seen them play and just didn’t realize it.

Remixed is a three CD collection – all previously released demos. Contents Under Pressure from 1990, Why Did Johnny Kill from 1989 and War Gives Me Peace of Mind from 1988. Released following the re-discovery of Oblivion’s analog master tapes, Remixed brings hope to Jersey’s thrash scene. Also here are two live tracks from G’Williker’s in 1991.

Oblivion’s music includes chunky metal bits for those still loving that sort of thing. It has its Metallica moments, its Maiden moments, its Suicidal moments, its Biohazard moments and its Megadeth moments – and then some. It can make nice twiddly bits that squeal and cry and heavy riffy bits that chunk about like a robot with a temper. It even has its anthemish everyone-yells-at-once moments too if you’re looking for a bit of thrasy camaraderie.

One thing I want to mention before we get into the music is I love the CD liner notes. A collection of show bills from Oblivion’s live days years ago – DIY to the core, reminiscent of the bills I have hanging on my basement wall for my own band that some day, when I’ve been playing for 20 years, I’ll put in a jacket too. History is good.

Since they are demos, don’t expect full-on stereo digital quality – turn up the volume knob a little. Nonetheless Oblivion are powerful enough, and the music is tight and on. Occasionally the vocals don’t mesh precisely with the backing rhythm, but that’s the sort of thing you see often with thrash. Guitar work is excellent, with solos all over the place. Why Did Johnny Kill has a particularly appealing one, and though there’s a bass solo portion I would have liked that to be mic’ed a bit better.

Where the sample for Redjack is from I couldn’t tell you (though the previous track I believe is Marvin the Martian). Redjack is a favorite for its nice bassline, borrowing power from the guitars, after which it will shred into a fast paced thrash dirge filled with chunky Megadeth guitars. Contents Under Pressure reminds me of Metallica with its squealy guitar. The opening of Portrait of a Maggot reminds me of Twisted Sister’s Captain Howdy. Beware the great burp openings of Coup D’etat and Mind Ripper.

If you need a bit of a skull slam or miss throwing yourself bodily into a pile of strangers from high ground, Oblivion are certainly worth checking out – especially for the Jersey history it’s a part of. The guitar solos alone are blisteringly good enough to warrant picking up a copy for the mere $7 asking price.

Contact Information:
Post: 5 First Ave., Port Monmouth, NJ, 07758, USA