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OBSCURA

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Germany


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Obscura biography
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 with progressive elements and technical as well as compositional demand.

OBSCURA released their 3rd full-length studio album 'Omnivium' through Relapse Records in early 2011.

( Biography edited and re-written by UMUR)

OBSCURA Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy OBSCURA Music


DiluviumDiluvium
Relapse 2018
$9.00
$8.98 (used)
CosmogenesisCosmogenesis
Relapse 2009
$13.08
$5.97 (used)
AkrķasisAkrķasis
Relapse 2016
$11.87
$7.97 (used)
RetributionRetribution
Remastered · Extra tracks
Relapse 2010
$10.36
$71.34 (used)
OmniviumOmnivium
Relapse 2011
$8.46
$8.93 (used)
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OBSCURA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OBSCURA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.81 | 19 ratings
Retribution
2006
3.96 | 50 ratings
Cosmogenesis
2009
3.77 | 65 ratings
Omnivium
2011
3.67 | 30 ratings
Akrķasis
2016
3.54 | 8 ratings
Diluvium
2018

OBSCURA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OBSCURA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OBSCURA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OBSCURA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.43 | 7 ratings
Illegimitation
2012

OBSCURA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Diluvium by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.54 | 8 ratings

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Diluvium
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

3 stars 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.

 Diluvium by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.54 | 8 ratings

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Diluvium
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars 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 "Akrķasis."

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 "Akrķasis" 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 "Akrķasis" (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.

 Cosmogenesis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.96 | 50 ratings

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Cosmogenesis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Brain knot music. The term just popped into my head as I was reading reviews of this album. I have listened to it a few times plus given randomly picked songs extra play time and although I am of the sound and sure opinion that I like it (enough to consider buying another album by Obscura), I am finding it very difficult to stride into a review.

As anyone will tell you, this album, as well as Obscura's style, is very technical metal. There seems to be something going on constantly and the band are rarely prepared to ease back and let something playout for a bit. I admit to having a certain fondness and admiration for technical bands like Decrepit Birth, Augury, and now Obscura too, but there is that challenge to make sense out of the music of each track and, for that matter, to learn to distinguish one song from another. All instruments are moving often at great speeds and sometimes in seemingly disparate directions except that you understand that the music is actually quite coherent and the instruments intelligently integrated.

What makes Obscura and this album stand apart from much of my previous technical metal listening experiences are a couple of things and that would be the use of slower tempos and even clean and beautiful parts with acoustic guitar or a kind of Steve Vai-like soloing style and the delightful use of bass guitar as an instrument that can hold its own and even stand out in the music. I have a great appreciation for metal and prog music that gives the bass a lead melody or frequently casts the spotlight on that wonderful instrument (which I don't play, in case you were wondering).

Because of the attention served to these aspects of the music writing, it becomes rather easy to begin to remember tracks for their standout parts rather than be doomed to be remembered as an intriguing and exciting tangle of rapid-fire, aggressive drumming, multi-single-note convoluted guitar riffs, and tangles of shredded solos with pinch harmonic wails that seem to drive through the music like hailstones in a thundershower during a baseball match. No, Obscura make it a little easier to say, "I really like the lead guitar melody here," or "Good use of clean guitar here to add something to the song," or "This acoustic passage is very pleasant and unexpected." Interestingly for me, shortly after acquiring "Cosmogenesis" I got "Focus" by Cynic and I could see the possible influences this older album had on Obscura's musical style. There is even a bit of vocoder vocals on "Cosmogenesis" as if in salute to "Focus".

The production is very clear and that is something I appreciate for such complex and often speedy music. My one criticism might be that the growls and sore-throat screams strike me as not being necessary throughout the whole album. It's not the first time that I was very impressed with the music but felt something more could have been done with the vocals in that the brutal style doesn't always seem to be the best approach.

And now it looks like I have managed to write just over a page-worth of words in review of this album. Technical. Highly-skilled. Creative. Effective. Challenging.

Delightful brain knot music!

 Akrķasis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Akrķasis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Akrķasis" is the 4th full-length studio album by German death metal act Obscura. The album was released through Relapse Records in February 2016. It´s been 5 years since the release of "Omnivium (2011)" and in addition to a lot of touring the time has also been spend with a lot of lineup changes. In fact the only remaining member since the last album is band founder/guitarist/lead vocalist Steffen Kummerer. Lineup changes are not unusual for Obscura though, who have had quite a few prolific musicians in their fold throughout the years in artists like bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling (Pestilence, Mayan), drummer Hannes Grossmann (Necrophagist, Blotted Science, Eternity's End), bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Sadus, Iced Earth), and guitarist Christian Münzner (Alkaloid, Eternity's End, Spawn of Possession, Necrophagist). The new guys in the lineup on "Akrķasis" are bassist Linus Klausenitzer (who has actually played with the band since 2011), drummer Sebastian Lanser, and guitarist Tom Geldschläger.

Stylistically the album opener "Sermon of the Seven Suns" continues the technical/progressive death metal style of "Omnivium (2011)", but already on the second track "The Monist" things change a bit. It´s a darker track with deeper growling vocals, and an interesting approach to composition, harmony, and structure. It´s also generally a bit more stripped down and less layered than "Sermon of the Seven Suns", and that contrast continues throughout the album. Some tracks are quite sophisticated and layered, while others feature a more stripped approach. That doesn´t mean the latter type tracks aren´t technically challenging and compositionally complex, but it´s obvious Obscura have deliberately gone for a more "bare" sound on those tracks.

In the other end of the spectrum you have a track like the closing 15:15 minutes long epic "Weltseele", which is probably the band´s most ambitious composition to date. It´s an incredibly intelligent and varied track, which proves beyond any doubt why Obscura are widely regarded as one of the most prolific contemporary technical/progressive death metal acts on the scene. Yes it´s sometimes a bit too polished and lacking grit and rawness, but on the other hand they deliver their brand of death metal with great conviction and incredible skill. Some of the things played here are designed to make your jaw drop and succeed well in doing that. Fast-paced precision drumming, technical and predominantly melodic oriented death/thrash guitar riffs and solos, and the high pitched snarling and deeper growling vocals in front. The occasional robotic vocoder voice part is also a part of the soundscape (Cynic style).

"Akrķasis" features a powerful, clear, and detailed sound production, which suits Obscura´s sound pretty well. The choice to remove some of the omnipresent layering of sounds on some of the tracks on the album, is really successful to my ears. It makes "Akrķasis" a more varied listen than "Omnivium (2011)". Not necessarily a better or more consistent release than the predecessor but definitely more varied and occassionally also a bit more raw.

Upon conclusion "Akrķasis" is yet another high quality technical/progressive death metal album by Obscura. Despite the many lineup changes and years between albums, Obscura have maintained their signature sound, but made just enough adjustments and little changes to said sound to not grow stale. The compositions are sophisticated, powerful, and intriguing, the sound production professional and detailed, and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Akrķasis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.67 | 30 ratings

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Akrķasis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by arschiparschi

4 stars Obscura went through a considerable line-up change in 2015 when both drummer Hannes Grossmann and guitarist Christian Muenzner left the band to pursue other projects. Since they were also composers for Obscura's material, it was unclear in which direction exactly they would head - the only indication was Grossmann's comment, saying that Kummerer wanted to go back into the musical direction of 'Cosmogenesis' rather than follow on in that of 'Omnivium'. Now that the new album has arrived I must say that I am really delighted with it. Sebastian Lanser (Panzerballett) surely is a force to be reckoned with on the drums and new guitarist Tom Geldschläger seems a worthy replacement of Muenzner. The album starts off with "Sermon of the Seven Suns" in the classic sound, quite similar to their well-known "Anticosmis Overload". With a nice balance between more quiet parts, impressive solos and stomping blast beats, all layered with the bright sound of Klausenitzer's bass, it is a nice start to the album sure to please fans of the Obsura sound. "The Monist" is a slower and more heavy-sounding song. It fits nicely between the very melodic "Akroasis" and mixed "Sermon of the Seven Suns". "Akroasis", which was released as a music video before the album's release date, perfectly blends melodic blast beats and excellent guitar playing by Tom Geldschläger. A true highlight for fans of melodic, yet technical death metal. "Ten Sepiroth" starts off with a quiet guitar intro, which soon turns into a fast death metal sound. Intense drumming by Lanser and well crafted transition between the parts make it a song that keeps the listener interested until the end. In the second half, the bass comes to the fore once more and creates a balance between a fast guitar solo and pounding drums. "Ode to the Sun" has a more heavy death metal sound to it with less melodic and lower guitar riffs. Its mostly kept at low speed, which gives it a very heavy sound, layered with robotic, almost ethereal sounding vocals in the middle. "Fractal Dimension" resumes the fast blastbeat sound, though not for long. Intersparsed with multiple guitar solos and a quiet guitar part in the second half, makes it a well-crafted technical death metal song, which does not become boring despite its length. "Perpetual Infinity" starts off quietly and incorporates the auto-tuned vocals already used in "Ode to the Sun". Then, through various shifts in its speed, it returns to a fast-paced death metal sound. "Weltseele" (anima mundi) is an ususually long song but a nice surprise, I think. It develops from a quiet guitar part to a slightly slower death metal blast, marked by multiple time shifts, but then returns to a quiet interlude, which even incorporates strings. From there it slowly returns to a heavier, more speedy sound only to finish on a quiet note.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this new effort by the band. It surely lives up to the standard set by the first records, though at times it could use some more variation with regards to the guitar riffs. The musicianship is flawless, as is the sound. Lyricwise it still revolves around the same cosmic themes, already present in the previous albums. Surely an album that should please fans of the Obscura sound.

 Omnivium by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.77 | 65 ratings

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Omnivium
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Omnivium is the latest Obscura album since now, issued at same as previous one on Relapse records in 2011. Well what we have here is another worthy album from their catalogue but some how is less intresting then previous album for my ears. Of course the musicianship is excellent , tight and has some great parts but overall fail to impress me as Cosmogenesis, mainly because Cosmogenesis was catchier in arrangements and the music was like instant glue to the listner, was very diverse in song writting and most important the bass was much much in front then here on Omnivium. The album is technical of course, in some parts is little less progressive and less diverse and more brutal in passges and the bass is no more so present as on Cosmogeneis, definetly the cherry on the cake. Now, the music is ok, the musicianship is ok and solid, the music suffers in intresting arrangements as on Cosmogenesis. With all that the highlights are the opening track Septuagint, Ocean Gateways, the rest are only ok. So, definetly a good release from this respected german band, but this is not an improvement over Cosmogenesis and is not their best album, at least for my ears. 3 stars maybe 3.5 stars for some parts but far from the genious of previous album. Again excellent cover art , booklet and whole package as on Cosmogenesis.
 Cosmogenesis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.96 | 50 ratings

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Cosmogenesis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Obscura for sure is one of the most well known and loved progressive technical death metal bands in last years in the world.. I really like them, and special this second album named Cosmogenesis from 2009. My fav from them and probaly my fav prog technical death metal album after Individual thoughts patterns of Death. Now, from the beggining, some line up changes face previous work, their first opus, here apper ex Necrophagist drumer and guitar player, Christian Muenzner and excellent drumer Hannes Gossmann and aswell one of the most " dangerous" bass players from this field the former member of legendary Pestilence - Jeroen Paul Thesseling , with such line up is easy to come with an impressive work. Now, from the excellent cover art and booklet and all, to the lyrics and music this album really smokes, this is near masterpiece of the genre, at least I was knocked out of my socks when I've heread this album 2 years ago, and still impressed to the max. This kind of technical death metal with progressive elements added in the mix is right down on my alley kind of stuff, I love this album a lot, never get bored or tired. The musicianship is top notch, each member delivers some outstandinkg skills, special the bass player, the master of the masters. Cosmogenesis sounds to me if not overall, but in places with Death - Human or Individual thought patterns era, same attitude, even the voice seams like Chucks in some parts specially on Incarnated, what a killer piece. The drumer has some good chops here, energic and tight playing like only germans know, great twin guitars with some Cynic, Atheis, Death kind aproach with jazzy interplays in some parts, very solid solos and riffing, good intresting growls and now the bass player, man the bass lines are not on this earth, what Jeroen Paul Thesseling done here on Cosmogenesis is absolutly killer, just listen to opening track The Anticosmic Overload, Choir Of Spirits, Incarnated or on the instrumental track Orbital Elements, easely some of the best and most intresting and inventive bass chops I've heared since those of Steve DiGiorgio on Individual thoughts patterns, kinda same aproach, impressive playing. Very technical album with a lot to offer, some special guests, the legendary Ron Jarzombek from Watchtower and Blotted Sience appears on some pieces aswell a Cynic meber on one pieces. I love and have a soft spot for this album, to me the best from all 3 released so far by the band and an excellent example for other bands of how must sound and be played this kind of music. 4.5 stars and strongly recommended, high calibre album.

 Omnivium by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.77 | 65 ratings

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Omnivium
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Obscura play the kind of tech-deth jive that's got my back. The band's influences are all over the metal map, and these guys are quite capable of mashing them all up into a fine blob of clay and sculpting their own designs with each track. There's even a bit of variance between tunes, and of course the band have dexterous skills to spare.

One of the main things that Obscura brings to the table that gives them an identity of their own is the ever busy fretless bass playing. Omnivium still waves that flag, but this time around the bass isn't so obsessively featured as on their prior effort Cosmogenesis. A slight letdown maybe, but there's still plenty of bass chops within to counter the guitar melodies.

Another thing I dig about Obscura is that they care about song structure, which some of these other similar groups don't seem to comprehend while writing finger exercises and calling them 'songs'. I can actually remember chunks of this band's work after the album finishes. Granted, it's not the kind of stuff I'll be singing in the shower or serenading my kids before bedtime, but at least these songs entertain on more than just a "wow, that part was really wicked" level.

Opening with what seems like an homage to Metallica's "Battery", Obscura plays around with velocity and quiet passages, adorning some of these tracks with spacey clean vocals that assist in bringing out the sci-fi atmosphere. Otherwise, vocally you have your mid- ranged growled delivery and the more guttural monster vocals trading off lyrics, mixed well within a tight concise production. There are certainly some ripping fast sections, but the album as a whole isn't some 'blast-athon', with tunes like "Ocean Gateways" showcasing a lumbering gait. Some could be put off by the production values emphasizing clarity over heaviness, but with this band and its running science fiction themes the mixing is beneficial and a much better option than muddying up stuff for the sake of a brutal sound, especially since I'm down with the interplay between the guitars and the bass, which would be lost in a heavy mix.

Is this album an improvement over the great Cosmogenesis? Not really since I find that album a little catchier, but Omnivium holds its own and pushes a couple of new ideas forward, and their proggier influences are starting to open up a little more. I'm curious to see what direction they'll go next, but so far they're on the right path.

 Cosmogenesis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.96 | 50 ratings

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Cosmogenesis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars With an album cover of a slum version of the Death Star exploding, Obscura's Cosmogenesis lays on the sci-fi shtick thick with lots of tunes about planetary sized spheres orbiting and doing their thing. It also showcases a whole lot of technical capability, from the shredding guitars, crazed yet tight drumming, to the unusually up-front fretless bass playing. You won't be hearing these sort of vocals performing Aida or The Marriage of Figaro anytime soon, but the varied forms of growling from guttural to higher registered wails works with the music in general. Unlike a decent portion of modern tech death metal bands, I actually enjoy this release a great deal, and consider it one of the best of the new millennium.

What sets this apart from most of the competition is the balance between showmanship and composition. Too often these sort of bands are so busy trying to show us how fast they can perform some tired arpeggio scales over blastbeats that they forget to write a decent riff, let alone song. Cosmogenesis, on the other hand, tosses out all kinds of catchy riffs to blend in with the wankery and even reutilizes them within a tune to actually form songs with a memorable structure and sound foundation. As a result, many of these songs linger and resonate after listening, particularly the proggish, slow and creative instrumental "Orbital Elements", the ferocious "Centric Flow" that segues into a memorable majestic epilogue, and "Incarcerated" with its blatantly catchy opening riff. There's really not a bad song in the batch music-wise.

I know there are some metal fans who decry this album for its lack of "brutality" and prominent bass presence. To me, there are thousands of bands that are brutal with the bass buried under chugged low-end guitar riffs and double bass drums, so it was refreshing to hear something like this concerning sonic qualities. The clear production doesn't really favor any instrument, but the fact that the bass is featured alongside other instruments instead of being buried in the back can make one think they're listening to some sort of Primus on a death binge recording. It's not really the case though, yet it adds a whole new layer of melody to the loud yet progressive music.

Getting used to the vocals was my only issue, in fact only the guttural ones took time to deal with as the more mid-ranged growls were excellent in regards to how they fit within the maelstrom of frenzied instrumentation. There's also a few somewhat psychedelic patches of clean vocals sprinkled here and there to add a couple of more beacons of interest.

I actually have not listened to their followup release Omnivium yet, but after spending a healthy amount of time with this album, I'm looking forward to hearing what else the band has to offer (barring their first album that thanks to lukewarm reviews I avoided). The 'mysteries of the universe' subject matter seems to mesh well with this shiny form of tech death, and so far Cosmogenesis is almost like a blueprint as to why it works.

 Cosmogenesis by OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.96 | 50 ratings

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Cosmogenesis
Obscura Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars '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.

Thanks to bonnek for the artist addition.

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