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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Thanks to UMUR, Time Signature, bartosso, adg211288 for the updates

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AkróasisAkróasis
Original recording
Relapse 2016
Audio CD$9.13
$8.01 (used)
OmniviumOmnivium
Relapse 2011
Audio CD$8.82
$9.26 (used)
CosmogenesisCosmogenesis
Relapse 2009
Audio CD$9.03
$7.99 (used)
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Remastered · Extra tracks
Relapse 2010
Audio CD$9.27
$6.00 (used)
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OBSCURA Discography

OBSCURA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.25 | 12 ratings
Retribution
Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.76 | 20 ratings
Cosmogenesis
Death Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.25 | 26 ratings
Omnivium
Death Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.49 | 5 ratings
Akróasis
Death Metal 2016

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 4.25 | 2 ratings
Illegitimation
Death Metal 2012

OBSCURA singles (0)

OBSCURA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

OBSCURA Reviews

OBSCURA Akróasis

Album · 2016 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
With their third full-length release Omnivium (2011) the German progressive/technical death metal act Obscura really took the metal world by storm. It seemed that the group were going to be unstoppable for the foreseeable future. I don't think anyone could have predicted that it would take five years for the follow-up to Omnivium to be released, but that's exactly what happened. Akróasis (2016) is the band's fourth full-length album and you'll only need one look at the line-up to understand why Obscura's journey suffered such a derailment: 75% of the band line-up has been changed. Of course Obscura was always primarily the band of frontman Steffen Kummerer and this isn't actually the first time his entire host of bandmates have been rotated between albums. It also happened between debut Retribution (2006) and Cosmogenesis (2009). While the previous band was made up of musicians that were known names to me (Christian Münzner, Hannes Grossmann and Jeroen Paul Thesseling) the new Obscura line-up on Akróasis are comparatively unknowns. It's Tom Geldschläger on guitar, Linus Klausenitzer on bass and Sebastian Lanser on drums. It should be noted that Geldschläger has already exited the band and been replaced by Rafael Trujillo.

Despite these changes in personnel not much has really changed within the Obscura sound itself. The new musicians prove good replacements for the departed ones, with Klausenitzer's fretless bass work adding that same really effective layer that Thesseling did previously, so Akróasis pretty much picks up where Omnivium left off as if nothing had happened. Quite frankly that's actually a little bit of a disappointment as it's usually interesting to hear how new blood can affect an artist's music. The only real difference on Akróasis as I hear it is that Obscura have tried to expand their sound a bit by including some softer almost atmospheric sections along with their usual technical death metal approach, which gives the album are increased progressive feel, but I also think they lost a bit of the previous album's aggression somewhere along the line, as Akróasis certainly doesn't pack as much punch as Omnivium did. Such is always a risk when you play technical death metal. The balance between it all needs to be maintained to be truly effective at it, and I think Obscura have slipped ever so slightly here.

The actual song-writing remains strong and I like that Obscura have really pushed the boat out and included the 15:15 long Weltseele, which immediately struck me as being their most adventurous track to date, while other tracks that stand out to me are Sermon of the Seven Suns, though it does lack the power to immediately immerse me in the album like Septuagint did for Omnivium, but such is really true for the whole album, taking me several listens to really find an appreciation for it. Also The Monist is a strong one, with Kummerer's growls reminding me of those used on the previous album's Ocean Gateways.

Obscura as always have delivered a quality product but Akróasis seems to me to be a one step forward two steps back kind of release. I like it a fair bit still, but I expect that whenever the fancy for some Obscura strikes me my first port of call with continue to be Omnivium, rather than Akróasis

OBSCURA Akróasis

Album · 2016 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
World sea...

Genre: prog/tech death metal

The champions of progressive death metal are back with another onslaught of mind-boggling death metal. To be released in a couple of days, "Akroasis" - like its predecessors - showcases the incredible musicianship that is contained within the entity that is Obscura.

From beginning to end, the listener is bombarded with insane blastbeats and exciting fretless bass figures. Accompanying these are virtuous guitar solos and guitar riffs that range from the melodic over the brutal to the dissonant. Every composition on the album is complex and contains several changes in time and tempo. This is progressive death metal indeed.

If this sounds like a description that could apply to any Obscura album, well then it is because there are no changes in musical direction on this release. That is not a bad thing. With music such as that created by Obscura, each song in itself is full of so many twists and turns that it is not necessary for the band to reinvent their sound in order to keep the listener interested.

Fans of Obscura should of course invest in this album as should any person who claims to be a fan of progressive and/or technical death metal.

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.

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