Obsolete is a Dark Progressive band from Ohio, and Riven (self-released) is their second EP. It has four songs, the last of which was released in a slightly different form on their previous EP, Ockham’s Razor (also self-released).
While the balance of the instruments is quite good, the vocals aren’t so much mixed in as put on top of the music. While I like the clean and full sound of Dan Rivera’s voice, it doesn’t work very well when he sings high and fast, which he does in ‘Grey’ and ‘Seven Years’. I think this has to do with the vibrato, which makes it sound like he’s uncontrolled and a little out of tune at the end of short notes, as well as a certain nasal quality that sometimes seeps into his voice. A longer sustained note at the end of his lines might alleviate both this and the sense of abrupt ending. The vocals do sound much better when they are slower, such as at the end of ‘From the Beginning’ and ‘Barren’.
I enjoyed the bass lines, especially on ‘Grey’, and the drumming is solid and tight. Both the electric and acoustic guitars generally sound good. However, ‘From the Beginning’ varies between different styles in a disjointed way, and even in the intro when the band comes in it is just not tight enough to be entirely comfortable. I did enjoy ‘Barren’, as the transitions between soft and hard are good and the backing vocals work well.
While there are definitely a lot of good elements on this EP, there are also a few glaring mistakes that should the band should have picked up on when listening to the recorded product, as there are a few notes in every song that could have done with a re-take. All in all, it sounds like the band rushed to produce an EP instead of taking the time to unlock their full potential.