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

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OBSCURA Discography

OBSCURA albums / top albums

OBSCURA Retribution album cover 3.22 | 18 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2006
OBSCURA Cosmogenesis album cover 3.93 | 32 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2009
OBSCURA Omnivium album cover 4.21 | 39 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2011
OBSCURA Akróasis album cover 4.18 | 16 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2016
OBSCURA Diluvium album cover 3.87 | 14 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2018
OBSCURA A Valediction album cover 4.17 | 12 ratings
A Valediction
Technical Death Metal 2021

OBSCURA EPs & splits

OBSCURA live albums

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

OBSCURA Promo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2008

OBSCURA re-issues & compilations

OBSCURA Illegitimation album cover 3.00 | 3 ratings
Technical Death Metal 2012

OBSCURA singles (0)

OBSCURA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


OBSCURA A Valediction

Album · 2021 · Technical Death Metal
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"A Valediction" is the 6th full-length studio album by German death metal act Obscura. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in November 2021. It´s the successor to "Diluvium" from 2018. It would seem that Obscura is a revolving doors kind of band, as once again there´s been an almost complete change of the lineup between albums. In fact the only remaining member since the predecessor is lead vocalist/guitarist Steffen Kummerer. On the bright side "A Valediction" sees a return of two former members of Obscura in bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling (previously part of the band from 2007-2011) and guitarist Christian Münzner (previously part of the band from 2008-2014). New drummer David Diepold completes the quartet lineup.

The material on "A Valediction" is unmistakably the sound of Obscura. Melodic and powerful technical/progressive death metal, performed by an incredibly skilled ensemble. Kummerer has chosen to perform most vocals on the album with his snarling aggressive vocal style, and only a very few times (like on "Devoured Usurper") does he perform his deeper growling vocals. There is one clean vocal part on the album on "When Stars Collide", which is performed by Björn "Speed" Strid (Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra). The effect laden robotic voices from the previous releases are almost gone from the music.

While the material on "A Valediction" are certainly still technically complex death metal, it´s actually the most melodic and accessible material released by Obscura up until then. It´s to a point where I´m slightly reminded of power metal (listen to parts of "Forsaken" and "Orbital Elements II" for proof of this), but it´s only touches and moments, and this is of course still primarely a death metal release. Thesseling´s fretless bass work provides the tracks with a fusion element, but I´d still say that element has also been pushed back to give space to more straight forward and accessible parts and ideas.

"A Valediction" is well produced, featuring a powerful, detailed, and professional sound production, which suits the material well. Upon conclusion it´s another high quality release by Obscura and although more accessible winds are blowing, "A Valediction" is still a highly technical and often progressive death metal release, loaded with intriguing songwriting ideas, high level performances, and as mentioned a well sounding production job. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

OBSCURA A Valediction

Album · 2021 · Technical Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
With so many technical death metal artists in existence it’s becoming ever more difficult to stay relevant in a room where so many are vying to find a way through the door and usurp your spot but some bands like Germany’s OBSCURA only seem to find a new sense of relevancy with each and every album despite the room becoming more crowded by the second. Going on almost 20 years of existence, these techies led by the legendary guitarist / vocalist / composer Steffen Kummerer has suffered more than most at keeping together a band whose members don’t want to stick around. Acting as more of a tech death university OBSCURA has seen a huge number of cast members rotate through the doors given that only six albums have seen the light of day.

After 2018’s “Diluvium,” the rotating band members all bailed in unison leaving Kummerer to start from scratch and take on the challenge to remain relevant as one of tech death’s most celebrated units all the while training a new crew to keep the ship sailing. Well as luck would have it, former band members Christian Münzner (guitars) and Paul Thesseling (fretless bass) just happened to be free to rejoin the band which takes 3/4 of the lineup back to the classic days of “Cosmogenesis” and “Omnivium,” the now deemed classic era of OBSCURA’s many renditions. To fill in the shoes of powerhouse percussionist comes David Diepold who has been and still remains a vital member of the English band Cognizance.

Three years after “Diluvium,” OBSCURA is back with an axe or two to grind on the sixth installment of their metallic legendary status in the form of A VALEDICTION which in both Latin and English means an act of bidding farewell. Now i do hope that this doesn’t refer to the end of the band itself as few bands have so successfully conquered the nasty world of tech death so gracefully and sustained itself for so long. Having always been masters of sonic manipulation, freeform fusion and a knack for inserting a strong emotional connection to what should seemingly come off as nothing but frenzied noise, OBSCURA has entered the area of intermediacy where technical death metal complexities have aligned with the more melodic sensibilities of power metal, thrash metal and melo-death only without compromising any of the virtuosic attributes that make OBSCURA so ferociously appealing.

A VALEDICTION features eleven tracks and showcases a new direction that takes a side step from the progressive headiness of the past and takes on a somewhat more accessible approach of adding just enough melodic immediacy to the mix. The result is one that takes OBSCURA more into the world of Necrophagist, Gorod, Archspire and First Fragment which as signifies a plentitude of creative dynamic shifts. In the case of OBSCURA there has always been such diversity and A VALEDICTION is no exception to this rule. There are still remnants of the moody acoustic intros as heard on the opening track “Forsaken” as well as a nice balance between the slower passages and the thunderous raucousness of the blastbeat driven metallic fury however this time around the OBSCURA experience is less about progressive meanderings that take you on a wild and unforeseen journey and instead focus on the neoclassical leanings to un fold the song structures albeit with all the deathened brutality that has never ceased.

Given the virtuosic prowess of all the members featured on A VALEDICTION, the fertile crossroads of technical wizardry and melodic motifs somehow cross-pollinate into a perfect paradise of instrumental interplay. Without the more heady progressive drifting, OBSCURA takes on a more direct approach and in the process Kummerer’s vocal style sounds to me more like the melo-death angstiness of Children of Bodom’s Alexi Laiho as the music sort of has that power metal meets tech death approach in a similar albeit more complex way. Despite this slight detour into the world of more melodic extreme metal, the musical rampages on like any OBSCURA fan could hope for. Slinky fretless bass grooves working in tandem with dueling guitar majesty and percussive bombast and a guarantee that Diepold certainly qualifies as one of metal’s most promising newbies on the block.

It’s always a stomach turner when one hears a near and dear talent like OBSCURA has drifted to the melodic side of the death metal equation since it has been the alienating surreal effects of atonalities and other unconventional methodologies that have made OBSCURA stand out in the first place but despite such concerns, it is a relief that Kummerer has triumphed once again in reinventing his baby by steering it only subtly in various directions without losing the underlying attributes that make OBSCURA what has always been. Very few can master these tightrope acts between unbridled experiments, beastly brutality and melodic masterful connectability in their music but it has been demonstrated on A VALEDICTION that OBSCURA is by no means in any danger of going the way of the dodo. In fact it seems like they only get better as time goes on.

OBSCURA Diluvium

Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
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"Diluvium" is the 5th full-length studio album by German death metal act Obscura. The album was released through Relapse Records in July 2018. It´s the successor to "Akróasis" from 2016 and features the exact same quartet lineup who recorded the predecessor.

The material on "Diluvium" continue the technical/progressive death metal style of "Akróasis (2016)" and it´s the sound of Obscura as they´ve sounded on the last couple of releases. Busy and high energy technical death metal with progressive ideas and strong jazz/fusion leanings. High in the mix fretless bass playing, high speed precision drumming, and powerful sharp death/thrash riffs and blistering lead guitar work. "Diluvium" is a very melodic release, but on the other hand it´s also nicely aggressive and brutal when that is called for. The vocals are predominantly snarling and aggressive growling, but there are some robotic clean vocals featured throughout the album too.

While the musical foundation of the tracks are similar or in other words the tracks are coherent in style, there is still good variation between tracks and within tracks. Tempo changes/time signature changes, different riff styles, varied lead guitar work, and loads of different rhythm patterns. There is generally a very good balance between the elements which make up the tracks, and Obscura are also successful at striking a balance between challenging playing/adventurous song structures and catchy moments/accessibility. So while this is not easy music to listen to, it´s not technical for the sake of it. The technical playing is a means to an end, and the songwriting is in focus in terms of creating something that the listener can relate to and instantly enjoy.

"Diluvium" features a clear, detailed, and powerful sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. Every detail is audible in the mix, and that´s what busy layered music like this requires. So upon conclusion "Diluvium" is yet another high quality release from Obscura. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

OBSCURA Diluvium

Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
According to MMA, Obscura are a Technical Death Metal Band, while according to PA they are Tech/Extreme Prog Metal, and needless to say the truth probably falls somewhere between the two. I can understand why they are classified as Tech Death as that is definitely the majority of their sound, but they are also bringing in many other elements, although whether I would classify it as progressive is another matter altogether. I know that there are many people out there who feel that Obscura are one of the most important bands around, but I’m definitely not in that camp. I recognise that Linus Klausenitzer is an amazing bassist, and his use of a fretless in this style of music should be admired, but to my ears it just doesn’t work. It has also been mixed in a way that is often above the twin guitars, and it all becomes quite disconcerting. The guitars are being rough, ferocious and incredibly staccato with lots of palm muting, and then there is a warm fat fretless which provides a totally different sound and feel. When the band slows down then of course it makes sense, but with their style of attack I would much prefer a fretted bass with a pick, to drive that hard edge.

Consequently I find myself becoming incredibly distracted, and instead of admiring what is undoubtedly a masterclass in musicianship, I find it grating. Of course, that means that I soon have issues with the rest of the album, with the touches, nuances and sojourns into different styles becoming something of distraction. I soon started wishing that the guys had just kept it simpler in some ways, got solidly behind, and put all of their energies into that. This isn’t a poor album, far from it, but it is not for me.

OBSCURA Diluvium

Album · 2018 · Technical Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
OBSCURA in a way carried on the interesting cross-pollinating potentials of Necrophagist after guitarist Christian Muenzner jumped ships and brought forth his virtuosic neoclassical shredding skills infused within the sensibilities in a death metal context. While Muenzner would move on to crank out some solo releases as well as hook up with various bands such as Spawn Of Possession, Paradox, Alkaloid and Eternity’s End, OBSCURA retained a great deal of the his influence, that being the delicate balance of tech death metal bombast with the reverie of classic progressive rock. Throughout OBSCURA’s history only founder Steffen Kummerer has remained the glue that keeps the band together but somehow through thick and thin he has proved to be quite the director of the ever rotating cast of stunningly brilliant musicians who cross paths with him. On OBSCURA’s fifth studio album DILUVIUM, a new lineup is in play with Tom Gelschläger taking up guitar duties following Rafael Trujillo’s departure after “Akróasis.”

Tech death metal in the 21st century is an increasingly complex beast with bands spiraling out in all kinds of directions and often fizzle out into unrecognizable territory and alienating the extreme metal fanbase before latching onto something tangible to grasp onto. OBSCURA has been the exception to this rule with each following album getting more focused and tighter than the last. While the band started out more as a simple brutal death metal band, their progressive tendencies ratcheted up to the point where “Akróasis” seemed like the band could go full-on prog but on DILUVIUM, they dial back the prog aspects a bit and instead hammer out some extremely heavy and tight death metal delivery with more direct riffing, more recognizable song structures that remind a bit of Necrophagist with easier to follow compositions that only judicially exercise the meandering tendencies into more complex departures. DILIVIUM is the final album of the four album concept series following “Cosmogenesis” (2009), “Omnivium” (2011) and “Akróasis” (2016).

As “Clandestine Stars” abruptly begins DILUVIUM, it’s clear that OBSCURA aren’t wimping out as they mature but rather place their wisdom in better musical constructs rather than less intensity however this album isn’t afraid to experiment or continue bold and daring bouts into the progressive metal world in the least. The opening track announces the bombastic return of Germany’s premier tech death metal band with a vengeance but soon begins the welcome contrasting sounds by incorporating some cool coded vocals that i personally haven’t really heard since Cynic’s debut “Focus” all the way back in 93, well at least not as well incorporated into a heavier metal sound and not just for one track but the coded vocal effects find their way scattered throughout the entire album. Unique for the band and the album for that matter is the track “Ethereal Skies” which utilizes some symphonic effects in the from of cello, violin and other string arrangements but don’t worry - this track is still a brutal beast with the full death metal bravado, neoclassical guitar wankery with the string arrangements simply adding a bit of ambience and a few moments in the spotlight.

DILUVIUM simplifies the compositional constructs a bit and there are less meanderings into the arcane prog world which the previous two albums dived into, however simplicity is not in OBSCURA’s vocabulary and new forms of complexity emerge with the riff changes, Sebastian Lanser’s technical drumming craziness as well as Linus Klausenitzer’s excellent fretless bass workouts. The return of V. Santura’s excellent production skills guarantee a continuation of the beautifully mixed subtleties that marry the sensuality and aggressiveness fitting for a 21st century extreme metal album. All of this is great news for those who dislike long drawn out bouts of spaced out sonic surfing into the sonicsphere and eschew the heavyhead banging bombast that fans of this stuff are utterly addicted to. Being both a proghead as well as a metalhead, i do not prefer one or the other finding both styles compelling but something about DILUVIUM screams seasoned metal band reaching new heights of glory.

After five albums, OBSCURA shows no signs of slowing down or toning down the ferocious intensity. Instead the band is more focused by cranking out precisely cut progressively tinged tech death metal candy like there is a bottomless wellspring of creative energy to be tapped. As i see it, OBSCURA is playing the cards exactly right. There is always the tendency for a techie band to go for the jugular and continue the journey into the inaccessible for the average fan but on the other extreme the temptation to tame the music down so much for greater exposure can mean that it becomes tediously inane. OBSCURA on the other hand simply changed the equation around a bit by not jettisoning any of their signature traits but merely rationed them in more intelligent proportions. The result is perhaps the most balanced album of their career, one that walks the tightrope between the tech death and progressive metal that they have juggled throughout their career. While some may like this more or less than the previous albums, i simply find this to be yet another satisfying edition to a solid canon of intelligently designed sci-fi fueled tech metal that satisfies from beginning to end. Well done, guys.

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