Once pretty much all of Obscura departed, I figured I would stick a fork in them and they were over. Guitarist/Vocalist Steffen Kummerer, with new bassist, in 2011, Linus Klausenitzer, began to put the pieces together…slowly. Rafael Trujillo, joining the band last year on guitars and Sebastian Lanser joining on drums, a year earlier. I felt the debut album, Retribution was a good intro to what the band would become. Their sophomore recording, in 2009 ,Cosmogenesis was a ground breaking album in the brutal tech-death metal community. 2011‘s Omnivium was just as good, and really pushed the band further towards technical insanity. 5 years later we are finally graced with a new Obscura album, Akróasis. So how does this bastard of an album sound??
The opening, “Sermon of the Seven Suns”, begins with a Cynic vocoder, effect, that sounds like it was a leftover, from Focus. The song soon blasts into a brutal blast, with really wild guitar harmonies and bass guitar slapping all over the place. The band incorporates some ethereal, moody moments, in the middle of the track, along with guitar noodling and spoken word vocals towards the end of this 7 minute opener. One of the finest songs Obscura has ever constructed. “The Monist” is up next with Steffen using his deeper, more guttural vocal bellowing, as opposed to more of the raspiness on the album opener. Get ready for some more Cynic like moments at around the 1.40 part with more vocoder effects, adding to more of a spacey feeling to the overall texture of the album, generally speaking. This adds even more depth to Obscura, since Focus was one of the most ground breaking albums of the 90’s and I’m lucky enough to have seen them on that tour. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to see Obscura, live. Overall the songs flow from brutal blasting to prog-jazz metal to slower moodier moments with plenty of guitar solos, double bass, multi-layered guitar harmonics and varying levels of vocal brutality. Honestly take Cynic’s Focus and add brutal blast beats, catch my drift?? However Obscura are still original due to them adding some terrific sections that sound like no other band, with more of an emphasis on metal-prog/jazz, this go around.
Then Obscura does something that has polarized some fans, they add a 15 minute song, “Weltseele”. Polarizing in that not many technical death metal bands write such long songs. If I am missing the boat here, I don’t mind comments correcting me, there are just too many bands out there for me to remember and I am going with all my useless/useful abundance of metal memory. So this song begins with an acoustic intro and then about a minute and a half into the song gets more metal, with nice progressive elements. The song gets more brutal eventually, however; by and large the song remains in a metal prog-jazz mode. Ne Obliviscaris comes to mind in the way the song is constructed and played, as well as in the length. At least Obscura are not asking their fans for $$, to help buy equipment, fund their albums and make a living touring. Check out what Ne Obliviscaris have been doing and while I love their music, they can go F themselves.
Ok, why did our fearless leader Craig “Shirtless Facetime extraordinaire” Hogan not reign me in? I got off topic…truthfully, check on the link I included to read and vomit. Regardelss; “Weltseele” is decent enough, brilliant in spots, with even a few Fallujah like moments, but it’s too long for it’s own good and I can enjoy long songs. Some moments kind of lost me and were a little jam sessiony and became a bit boring. I zoned the F out, several times. Cut the bastard in half and the song is a winner winner, chicken dinner.
The overall album production is fantastic. No complaints in any of that area. There are many different packages you can buy on Relapse and shirts too. The cd layout is once again exceptional, not as good as Omnivium, though. Akróasis is a great album and if you want your tech-death fix, but with additional elements, like what I have listed above, go for it. Killer album, by Obscura, once again.
9 out of 10
1. Sermon of the Seven Suns
2. The Monist
4. Ten Sepiroth
5. Ode to the Sun
6. Fractal Dimension
7. Perpetual Infinity
9. The Origin of Primal Expression
For Fans of:
Sermon of the Seven Suns/The Monist/Fractal Dimension