OBSCURA — Akróasis (review)

OBSCURA — Akróasis album cover Album · 2016 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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 It should be noted that Geldschläger has already exited the band and been replaced by Rafael Trujillo.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
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Nightfly wrote:
more than 2 years ago
That is a good album, probably buy that one.

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