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EP Review: OBSTINATE Infraction

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As genres naturally become bland, branches grow to create subgenres. And equally so, when the subgenres turn stale, there is even further expansion. The most modern example is the djent craze with the predictability of the subgenre already coming full circle. Each time I click on some new mathematically esoteric named band considering themselves djent, the first thirty seconds usually result in an exasperated sigh regarding the rehashed stereotypes. In terms of the next evolution of djent, rap seems to be the most recent and surprisingly suitable evolution.

The next act to stride down the path of such subgenre experimentation is based in Pune, India and have been featured in various festival competitions including Wacken Metal Battle and Hornbill Festival in 2016. Obstinate holds rapper Abhinav at the helm with guitarist Bily adding clean vocals. As for the rest of the lineup Abhi is the second guitarist, Gunzan plays bass, and Reeshav is behind the drum kit.

Every modern progressive metal band needs a suspenseful instrumental opener nowadays and Obstinate delivers a textured atmosphere to build tension up for "Plight." After a few measures of djenty riffs, Abhinav spits out some smooth bars before a soaring Tesseract-like clean vocal line. Next, "L.O.L." has a programmed hip hop beat that works way too well when paired with the downtuned riffs. I don't think a Limp Bizkit comparison is completely justified, but there were some verses that reminded me of some Gold Cobra material. Remaining pieces, "Heed" and "Way We Go," were a bit more of the same except with a focus on bass licks to spice things up.

Considering this subgenre is so new, there's little to stylistically compare this EP to. Hacktivist, a British rap djent group that hit the market with their self-titled EP in 2012, are certainly similar and have found moderate success. A few years later, DVSR (FKA Devastator) was added to the scene with the release of their debut LP. As enjoyable as both aforementioned bands are, my personal complaint whittles down to the fact their songs begin to blend together and sound the same quite quickly. I'm hoping Obstinate can avoid that with future releases as the five tracks on here start to dip down that similar path of repetition. Regarding the overall subgenre, I'd assume the rap djent scene will remain niche and stagnant unless these artists push out from the slim parameters they have created or more acts join and create diversity.

My takeaway thoughts on Infraction is that Obstinate are on the right track to something quite impressive as there are definitely some quite empowering moments throughout this EP. While the contrasting vocals and distinct production were very strong, I'd like to see the music go even further in order to differentiate from other djent groups. Altogether, this release is quite a tease towards the band's full-length debut LP where they prove that this subgenre is worth paying attention to.

Score: 8/10

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