Obscura

Diluvium

Written by: RUB on 22/08/2018 17:33:02

After a long and well-deserved summer holiday, I think it’s time to get back into the reviewing game. To do that, the review had to be of someone special, and as such Obscura eventually made their way into my playlist with their newest outing, “Diluvium”. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about it at first, but I gave the record a few listens — and that paid off, to say the least. After the band lost two of its key members in Hannes Grossmann (drums) and Christian Münzner (guitar) back in 2014, I sort of wrote the technical death metallers off because I thought they would never be able to create another “Cosmogenesis” or “Omnivium” without those two musicians — which is the reason I haven’t even heard the entirety of their 2016 album, “Akróasis”, to this date. And although “Diluvium” was released well over a month ago, I thought this would be the perfect way to mark my return to writing, because boy, oh, boy have the Germans of Obscura made a return worth noticing. It makes me ashamed that I ever doubted the prowess of the Munich-based four-piece.

What we have here is a textbook Obscura album from start to finish. From the album opener, “Clandestine Stars”, you instantly recognize the band’s signature sound; the drums are blasting away, whilst the progressive and dreamy soundscape slowly evolves into an inferno of technical death metal, with plenty of tempo shifts and, of course, the extremely audible bass. Every little detail is neatly sewn together into one killer song after the other, without sacrificing either the progressive, the technical or the melodic element. Obscura has become quite revered for over the years for mastering this combination, and both the prominent bass by Linus Klausenitzer and the almost spacey sound the four musicians sometimes incorporate into their songs are still very much present on “Diluvium”. But this doesn’t mean that they have forgotten about the death metal part of their sound. This is particularly evident on the title track, where the sole remaining member and frontman of the band, Steffen Kummerer, manages to deliver some very deep and furious growls, giving the track some much needed edge within the otherwise quite technical and progressive style.

At times, the songs are even taken all the way down to simplistic composition in order to afford more room for something like a lengthier guitar solo. But it doesn’t come at the expense of the other instruments, because they’re all intertwined in such a way that you’re never bored; rather, you are simply eager to find out what the next huge build-up will lead to. This is perhaps best seen on “Ekpyrosis”, which changes pace so many times and truly underlines the complex song structures Obscura have managed to compose for this album — as we have seen on several other occasions on previous records as well. All the little details are not revealed on the first, second or even the third listen, but the album keeps on giving you reasons to return to it. As far as I’m concerned, there’s not a single bad song on “Diluvium”; every one of them has something to offer, perhaps with the small exception of the short bonus track, “A Last Farewell”, which serves as a sort of outro, and as such doesn’t really count. This realization makes me that much more ashamed that I ever doubted the ability that these German gentlemen possess. It goes without saying that I have to visit the former album from 2016 now, because perhaps therein lies another masterpiece yet to be discovered by me.

Anyone with any knowledge of the band will agree that one has to appreciate long guitar solos and complex and challenging fretwork, but speaking as someone who isn’t particularly fond of too much guitar-wankery, it doesn’t really matter when the songs are as well written, produced and composed as the ones present on “Diluvium”. I have not highlighted too many songs on the album individually, for the single reason that it’s just too damned hard to describe them all — you will just have to listen for yourself. And if you’re still not convinced yet, just give the album another spin and be prepared to get sucked into the astral vortex that is this masterpiece, which is certain to land on my albums of the year list come December.

9

Download: Diluvium; Clandestine Stars; Ekpyrosis; Mortification of the Vulgar Sun; The Seventh Aeon; The Conjuration; Convergence; Emergent Evolution
For the fans of: Cynic, Death, Beyond Creation, Necrophagist, The Faceless
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.07.2018
Relapse Records

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