OBSCURA
Death Metal • Germany

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OBSCURA are a German technical progressive death fusion band founded in 2002 by guitarist/vocalist Steffen Kummerer. The band caused a stir when they - out of nowhere - toured as support for SUFFOCATION on their European tour in 2006 and when they independently released their debut album "Retribution" that same year.

In late 2007 - after several line-up changes - OBSCURA announced drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-NECROPHAGIST) and fretless bass player Jeroen Paul Thesseling (ex-PESTILENCE) as new permanent members. In early 2008 the new line-up was completed with the addition of Christian Muenzner (ex-NECROPHAGIST) as permanent guitarist.

OBSCURA released their 2nd full-length studio album, "Cosmogenesis" (feat. special guest appearances by Ron Jarzombek (WATCHTOWER, BLOTTED SCIENCE) and Tymon Kruidenier [CYNIC, EXIVIOUS) in early 2009 via Relapse Records. Re(de)fining their approach, OBSCURA continue to create their vision of the future of extreme metal - a symbiosis of death, thrash and black metal merged
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OBSCURA Discography

OBSCURA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.25 | 11 ratings
Retribution
Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.76 | 19 ratings
Cosmogenesis
Death Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.25 | 25 ratings
Omnivium
Death Metal 2011

OBSCURA EPs & splits

OBSCURA live albums

OBSCURA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Promo
Death Metal 2008

OBSCURA boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Illegitimation
Death Metal 2012

OBSCURA singles (0)

OBSCURA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

OBSCURA Reviews

OBSCURA Omnivium

Album · 2011 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Despite sharing a name with Gorguts' most unusual album, Obscura's style of progressively-inclined technical death metal is actually decidedly accessible. Displaying a knack for balancing technicality with brutality, Obscura blend melodic elements and gentler moments (such as the acoustic introduction to the album at the start of Septuagint) and high-energy progressive riffs into a fast-paced death metal framework and reliably come up trumps. Not a classic of the genre, but there's certainly less interesting technical death metal albums out there that have won more attention. Progressive metal and technical death metal fans should take the time to heed this one, and maybe Obscura will start to get the prominence they deserve.

OBSCURA Cosmogenesis

Album · 2009 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'Cosmogenesis' - Obscura (7/10)

Obscura are a band that has stood out from the crowded genre of technical death metal. Although their debut 'Retribution' was something of a cold opener that did little to distinguish them, their second record 'Cosmogenesis' was, and still is, one of the most well-regarded tech death albums of the new millennium. Although this very polished, blistering style of music has rarely piqued my interest, Obscura justifies their technical display by putting intelligence into the songwriting, and makes for one of the style's stronger experiences.

Although they are from Germany, Obscura takes most of their influence from American death metal bands, not least the legendary Death, as well as Cynic. Frontman Steffen Kummerer is evidently influenced by Chuck Schuldiner, many of the riffs and song structures reflect what Death was doing around the time of 'Individual Thought Patterns'. Obscura have polished that sound into something much more modern and complex however. 'Cosmogenesis' is defined by lots of dual guitar work, with one guitar playing a riff and the second guitar going at something equally as technical. From a compositional perspective, the music is very complex and dense. Despite relatively conventional song lengths, and even such 'pedestrian' elements as chorus structures, Obscura rarely lets up their onslaught of fast paced riffs, complicated drums and jazzy bass lines. Steffen's vocals typically evoke a fairly generic death growl, and while there are some Cynic-like vocorder clean singing to give a bit of variety, the vocal aspect of Obscura is definitely not their high point.

Obscura's 'Cosmogenesis' is the first album in a tentative four album concept piece, and seeing as this Obscura is an almost completely different lineup than the one heard on 'Retribution', this is the band's defacto debut. As good as 'Cosmogenesis' is however, the music still feels somewhat conventional for technical death metal. Particularly in regards to the cold, mechanical production, Obscura are not yet a full head above their competition at this point. Regardless, Obscura obviously have technical chops beyond most in metal, but what makes them stand out is their intelligence and complex composition. It's easy to play fast, but Obscura steps up to the plate and delivers a calibre of songwriting that justifies their technical abilities.

OBSCURA Cosmogenesis

Album · 2009 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bonnek
Three years after their modest retro-death debut, Steffen Kummerer returns with a completely revamped Obscura, with an entirely different line-up and with a distinctly more progressive musical direction.

The overall impression is still that of an oppressively intense death metal album, but the new musicians brought a new flavor to the sound, a richness and depth that was entirely absent from the debut. Most striking for me is the change of drum style from new recruit Hannes Grossmann, his playing is much more dynamic and creative, and he throws the death metal clichés of the debut almost entirely overboard. His contribution is essential to the sound. Also the guitar riffing has changed drastically, with less death/thrash-based riffing and instead with multiple bar spanning melodies that lend the music a complex progressive quality. The fretless bass of Jeroen Paul Thesseling stands out as well.

Quite an improvement over the faceless debut. A band to look out for! 3.5 stars.

OBSCURA Retribution

Album · 2006 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bonnek
Obscura's debut stands far apart from their later albums, it's almost like a 2006 tribute to the early 90's extreme metal, with the exact same type of songwriting and sound of bands like Morbid Angel and Death. The addition of the Death, Morbid Angel and Suffocation bonus cover-tracks on the 2010 re-edition is no coincidence.

Fans of their later material should approach the album with utmost care. Not only is it a pure death metal album, it also doesn't have the best of productions, it's very thick and muddy, suffocating all instruments and with very upfront kick drums, which can get quite annoying during the frequent blast beats. Also the songwriting leaves room for improvement. There's next to nothing in these songs that will make them distinguishable from the songs around them. That's a common feature with death metal and one of the reasons why I am not too fond of it.

Good: the album maintains a consistently oppressive and bludgeoning atmosphere. Bad: it lacks personality and fails to offer memorable material. I'd say this album is decent, but only catered for death metal aficionados that want a trip back to 1990.

OBSCURA Omnivium

Album · 2011 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bonnek
One album further in their career, one more leap ahead. Obscura have quickly evolved from a faceless Thrash metal band to a most entertaining modern Technical Thrash/Death unit. Under this brutal surface sit complex guitar patterns that have traded typical death/thrash-based riffing for multiple bars spanning melodic riffs that lend the music a complex progressive quality.

The songwriting is top notch and quite varied. The opening track may start as an old Metallica classic but it quickly evolves to a brutal Death Metal attack that gives way for a more relaxed Opethian prog metal passage with very enjoyable psychedelic clean vocals and just that bit of vocoder to make them sound even more out-worldly. A crazy speed-Death finale rounds it up. It's a scenario that reoccurs in different forms and variations on this album. New tricks and development appear regularly throughout, making it entertaining for most of its 59 minutes. I probably don't need to mention that I would enjoy it even more with 2 tracks less, for no better reason then having an attention span of 50 minutes.

It's not the most original or revealing bit of metal this year but simply very good album for fans of technical progressive thrash metal. It is certainly recommended above their other albums. An excellent release in its niche.

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