Folks, I have a confession to make. Three years ago, I had not heard of OBSCURA. However, a friend was good enough to turn me on to the group. I was grateful, but once I got through their prior discs, I found myself longing for more. This placed me in line with long standing fans of the band, who have waited five long years for a follow up to 2011’s Omnivium. Well, it’s finally here: on February 5, the German Tech-Death Metal outfit returns with Akróasis, which will be released through Relapse Records.
In the time since their last record, the group has undergone lineup changes, replacing half of its staff. Combine this with the extended period between albums, most would question the quality of the material. Don’t. Every moment of this collection is astounding. From the opening moments of “Sermon of the Seven Suns”, the listener can easily tell they are in for an intense audial assault. The song starts with a droney, chord build, with robotic vocals atop, before moving into a fast paced thrash. This pull-off death riffing structure is also seen among the title track and “Fractal Dimension”.
Lower range chugging can be found on “The Monist”, while more traditional tremolo riffing takes hold on “Ode to the Sun”. While each track has its melodic passages, songs such as “Ten Sepiroth” and “Perpetual Infinity” lead with a more harmonious guiding. Each features a soft introduction to riffing, with the latter offering a creakingly haunting piece. The disc closes with “Weltseele”, a fifteen minute opus of magnanimous design. Acoustic arpeggio chords open the song, building through jazz-influenced rhythm sections into a full on blasting of epic proportions. Orchestration enters at the mid-point of the piece, offering an influence of Black Metal. All elements coalesce in a climactic crescendo to bid the listener farewell, until the next time.
From start to finish, OBSCURA have proven a bit of time off has not impacted their ability to produce a record that will dumbfound its listener. Akróasis presents 55 minutes of movement between Death, Tech and even, at times, Prog Metal. It plays out like a novel, offering context and transition between chapters, decrying an epic tale of what can only be interpreted as philosophic thought. And for those who don’t get down with introspective reflection, this is still an amazing record to which you can bang your head. Bottom line is, you need to grab this one. Please forward all thanks to The Maestro. He’ll pass them along to me.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM