Stamina is the debut full-length album by progressive/technical death metal act After Oblivion. The band comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which isn’t the most common of places for metal bands to come out of so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of the band, which I hadn’t heard before Stamina. The album was released in 2012. Previously After Oblivion has released a demo (which was also released as a split with now defunct Brazilian death metal act No Blest) and an EP. Only one track out of their older material is absent from Stamina, leaving room for one a few tracks that hadn’t been released before.
Despite being unsure what to expect from a band out of Bosnia and Herzegovina what I actually find in Stamina is something which to be completely honest I’ve heard before. Listening to After Oblivion on this album is exactly like listening to the legendary death metal act Death, most specifically later day Death when Chuck Schuldiner was getting ever technical and progressive with his writing. Every detail is pretty much exact, right down to the vocals. It’s fair therefore to say that After Oblivion are a clone act, but fortunately for them they do the sound convincingly enough that although they do sound like an imitation they don’t come across as a cheap imitation, which I feel is a key difference to note with acts like After Oblivion.
They are probably helped of course by the sad fact that because of Chuck Schuldiner’s untimely death in 2001 that there hasn’t been a Death studio album since The Sound of Perseverance (1998). I’m sure After Oblivion aren’t the only death metal act out there following Chuck’s template, but I can’t say I’ve personally come across any that nailed Chuck’s vocal style as well as After Oblivion’s Adnan Hatic does on Stamina. In my view that gives the album a bit of extra value for anyone looking for something to fill the void left by Death, although After Oblivion has a long way to go I think before they could be considered Death’s equals, they do pay more than satisfactory homage.
Stamina isn’t a long album, only just passing the half hour mark, but it gets the job done. If I ever had a problem with Death themselves it’s that Schuldiner’s unusual high pitched vocal style could grate after a time but there isn’t really time for that to happen here. Stamina may be a heard it all before album with no originality to speak of, but the more important thing to consider at the end of the day is that it is actually quite enjoyable. A great album tier rating is deserved, but I would like to hear what After Oblivion could be capable of if they started to throw more of their own take on Death’s sound rather than doing it by the book.
(originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))