Aug 14, 2015

Obscura- Akroasis
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal

Obscura Is a phenomenal German Technical/Progressive Death Metal that has definitely gone through the wringer in the last two years. From losing half the band (Guitarist Christian Muezener and Drummer Hannes Grossmann) in 2014 and recently guitarist Tom Geldschläger in 2015. When the band got back on it's feet in 2015 to be a part of 2015's Summer Slaughter tour in North America, the band suffered from several issues making the band drop off the entire tour. From that point on, Frontman and Guitarist, Steffen Krummerer, set out to make sure that the band's 4th album, Akroasis, would be a complete force to be a reckoned with. Not only did he succeed, but the band is arguably the strongest it has ever been. Let me explain why...

The album starts off with Sermon Of The Seven Suns, which starts with a fade and Cynic style clean vocoder vocals before kicking into the band's signature sound of technical riffs, bombastic blast beats and outstanding Guitar and Bass work. So many great technical riffs mixed with melodic moments of sheer beauty. The middle instrumental section features fantastic Bass riffs provided by Bassist, Linus Klausenitzer. The ending features some more crazy riffs that eventually lead into a fade out that leads into the Middle Eastern Influenced song, The Monist. While still being very technical, the song is a bit slower than most of the rest of the album. Lots of groove and very double bass driven ala Death. The chorus features a great vocoder section that would make Cynic fans very happy. An overall killer, groovy, song. The title track, Akroasis, is easily the fastest song on the album. Absolutely pure chaos right from Drummer Sebastian Lanser's opening drum fill. The song is layered in Blast Beats and melodies and harmonies of the great 90's Tech Death bands, which the band has made so perfectly well their own. The guitar solo section of the song is easily one of the highlights of the entire album. The song ends with clean guitar and bass sections that slowly fade away leading into the clean guitar intro of Ten Sepiroth. The song has more of an upbeat Thrash/Death Metal feel compared to the rest of the album, yet, still featuring plenty of blasts and growls. The short instrumental sections really make this song great to hear. A song that would definitely be perfect to get caught in the middle of a circle pit. Ode To The Sun (Sadly, not a Dredg cover) has is another groovier song that is beyond crushing. The slower riffs give off that ultra heavy vibe Gojira has become famous for. Actually that's a great way to look at it. Cynic meets Gojira. Arguably, this is one of the best choruses on the entire album. The second half of the song features a slower doomy feel to it with choir type vocals that lead to a quite eerie ending before leading into the chaos that is Fractal Dimension. The song features the famous Obscura signature sound. The solo section features some slower and crushing riffs that are meant to make you bang your head, before it snaps from the verse riff kicking back in. After a short bass-driven interlude the song ends on one of the best riffs of the album to close out the song. Perpetual Infinity starts with clean and acoustic guitars and bass, giving a great Cynic feeling once again with the vocoder vocals. While the song is more uptempo compared to the rest of the album, it is almost the catchiest song on the album. Giving more nods to 90's Tech Death, it has the most melodic moments in the album on almost the entire song before ending on a very chaotic last riff to make way for the final epic. Weltseele is the longest Obscura song to date at 15:16. While on paper, a 15 minute Tech Death epic may feel way too long and jarring to listen to, that couldn't be further from the truth. Without question, this is the best song on the album. While starting is a mellow intro, the song eventually throws it's way into a march style assault. This definitely shows off everything the band is capable of, The fast, the mellow, the heavy, the melodic, the chaotic. It's all here. This also features the other best chorus on the album, if not the best. Roughly half way through the song it gets a bit more mellow and focused on creating atmosphere with synths, acoustic guitars and clean spoken word. This comes back into an amazingly dark section that gives such an evil feeling. This is followed by the fastest blasts on the entire album for just a little bit before kicking into a Cynic style and synth driven instrumental section before hitting the climax of the song. the climax makes you feel like you are just about to fall off the side of a mountain in sheer terror. The final riff on the album rivals Between The Buried And Me's White Walls as one of the best ending riffs to an album put on record. Everything about it is brilliant. The song finally ends with bass and clean picked guitar that leaves on a final lingering and fading note to close out Obscura's 4th magnum opus.

It's hard to put into words how amazing Obscura has rebounded from turmoil and back luck in the last couple years. While many thought that the band would have reached it's highest point with 2011's Omnivium, Steffen Kummerer and Co. not only shatters that notion, they prove that they are stronger than ever and the band's best days are still to come. Akroasis is sheer and utter brilliance! Combining the best of the Tech Death days of yore with a modern twinge. Obscura is one of the leading bands in the Progressive and Technical Death Metal realms for a reason. Come see why for yourself!

- 10/10

Obscura- Akroasis available February 5th via Relapse Records