Philippe Drouin – guitars, vocals
Olivier Pinard – bass
Samuel Santiago – drums
1. Prelude Dm
3. The First Light
5. Scars of War
6. The End
Founded in Quebec, Montreal, Obvurt is a death metal triad of French Canadian origin. The name “Obvurt” is an amalgamation of the words “obvert” (to oppose) and “hurt” (to wound). Their first EP, The Beginning, will be out on March 31st. They are signed to Brutal Mind and feature the members of bands such as Cattle Decapitation, Cryptopsy, and Agony. Unfortunately, in 2016, guitarist and vocalist Philippe Drouin was injured in a car accident. This led to him losing his dexterity in his right hand and unable to regain it, disastrous for a right-handed guitarist who had been playing for a decade and a half. Two years later, he started to retrain as a left-hander, before founding Obvurt in 2020.
Introductory track “Prelude Dm” is the only offering that lacks heaviness, a calm before the imminent storm. Its less-than-a-minute length doesn’t drag for too long (as this is a death metal EP, after all) and keeps the listener in suspense throughout.
“Osteophyte” refers to the wrist surgeries frontman Phillip Drouin underwent after his accident five years ago. The vocal enunciations (especially of the song title) throughout the barrage of instruments work well to describe both the complexity of those operations and the chaotic impact the tragic event had on his life. Drouin’s voice functions almost like another instrument in the mix, switching from high-pitched and frenetic to ominous, guttural tones.
Pinard and Santiago are on top form in “The First Light,” not taking anything away from their performances in the five other songs, though this track begins with a strong rhythm section that persists throughout.
Michael Angelo Batio, who mentored Phillip while he was learning to be a left-handed guitarist, plays a lead solo on “Obverted.” It is clear that not only is this man a great teacher, tutoring Obvurt’s founder to relearn the guitar with a new hand in only a couple of years, but also a highly skilled musician. The spoken word segment featured here adds a more personal touch to The Beginning, relating to the fact that the band is largely inspired by events in the founder’s life.
Leading with a shattering scream, “Scars of War” boasts groove-oriented riffs in the slower sections that marry well with the rawness of the vox, bringing about a combination that makes it one of the standouts on The Beginning.
With a name that opposes the EP’s title, wordless closer “The End” brings about a sense of hope and triumph after the ominous heavier songs that precede it. When death metal can evoke such emotions, even in its slower moments, it adds a sense of rare beauty to the subgenre. There is also something that feels not so final about it, almost like a cliffhanger that leaves you curious for more…
A fantastic debut EP from Obvurt, with a backstory that makes the release all the more awe-inspiring. If this is what they can pull off in less than 20 minutes, bring on a full-length from these guys!