author EW date 08/06/11

Obscura is a name that has been getting ever greater references in the technical death metal field in recent times, plaudits full deserved after their recent opus "Cosmogenesis". I recently caught up with drummer Hannes Grossman to find out more.

Hi! How’s life in Obscura at the moment?

Hannes Grossman (drummer): Hi, all is great thanks.

"Omnivium" sees the further establishment of an unrivalled Obscura sound in the technical death metal world today. What ambitions did the band have for the progression of your material following "Cosmogenesis"? How in your mind does it compare to the previous album?
Hannes: I think it's a development of the sound of Cosmogensis, however we tried to focus on being non-compromising and making clear, that we do have a very unique sound.”

The riffs and compositions that are de riguer for Obscura are anything but simple to write and perform. What has inspired and driven you to play this technically demanding genre of metal over the years?

Hannes: The technical aspect is necessary to develop and create our ideas. It's not the purpose, the purpose is to write good songs and drive the metal genre forward. So as long as we need to play as fast as we do, we will.

How do the band go about writing songs like "Prismal Dawn" and "Vortex Omnivium" from the new record, songs which contain countless riffs and tempo changes? Do the band look to maintain a certain level of technicality in each song or is this how songwriting naturally turns out for Obscura?

Hannes: We write down all the riffs and ideas on note sheets and thus we find a suitable song structure and dynamic progression. If it then has many riffs, most of those are developed from one idea into many other ideas. So if it needs to be technical, then it shall be, haha. There aren't many tempo changes in the songs, it just sounds like that because we like to modulate rhythms.

How much of a consideration is given to the live performance potential of the songs as they are written? Are there any in particular you feel are better suited for the stage or that you enjoy playing most?

Hannes: Actually we tried to but failed! Again the songs are super-intense in a live set. We managed to play them somehow naturally on our previous EU tour, but it is indeed difficult to play the stuff. Next time we'll focus more on a possible live situation.

Unfortunately the copy of the album provided to me did not contain a lyric sheet, but having listened to the last two records a good number of times I can tell the lyrical subjects are anything but normal fodder for the genre. Can you elaborate on some of the themes covered on the new record, and for what reason such subjects have been undertaken?

Hannes: You can interpret the album and the concept within the lyrics and design in very different ways. The focus within the lyrics is based on the higher philosophy and the discussion within different religions. For that whole idea of 'Omnivium', Steffen (who wrote the lyrics) used Friedrich Schelling's 'On Nature's Connection to the Spirit World'. On all of the lyrics I have a personal opinion, a personal preference and a different view on the topic itself especially on the point with religions. There is always a link to the real life, those ideas never get old. But, I do not tell people what to do, what to think or how to live their life. With 'Omnivium' everyone should find his own truth

Who have been the key influences upon yourself, and the band as a whole, to initially form a band of the likes of Obscura?

Hannes: Any classic rock band from the 60s/70s. And all bands I like.

I've read of numerous extreme metal bands discuss the problems of combining a normal, bill-paying job with the demands of their band; how much of a problem is this with Obscura? Do you ever see the potential for the band to become the full-time job?

Hannes: I'm not sure about this, but I see a lot of commercial potential with our music. I don't think we really belong to the so-called tech death genre, I think our music also appeals to a 'normal' metal guy. Living from music however is difficult, but nowadays any type of entrepreneurship is difficult to be successful with. We make money when we're playing concerts, so it's a very positive situation for us

That's all we've got for now, thanks for taking the time to answer! "Omnivium" is a top album and one that keeps on revealing new secrets; I wish you all the best with it. Please leave the readers and I with your personal motto in life!

Hannes: “A smart man learns by his failures, a wise man by the failures of others.”

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