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Symphonic Prog • Germany

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Via Obscura picture
Via Obscura biography
It was the year 2004, when the gifted vocalist and Keyboard player Anne-S. Thinius; the guitarist, drummer, pianist and orchestra arranger Alexander Thinius and the bassist André Manke joined in Germany to form VIA OBSCURA, a band dedicated to create experimental 70's inspired music with special emphasis in Goth, Jazz, and Heavy Metal with Symphonic and classical structure.

As many other bands like MIRANDA SEX GARDEN and DEAD CAN DANCE who were originally labeled as Goth, they exceeded the parameters of Gothic Rock and sounded more comfortable in Symphonic territory, of course their obvious classical formation and the operatic voice of Anne helped a lot to the evolution of the band.

Originally VIA OBSCURA was formed as an improvisation project, but things got out of hand (something common when you are good enough), and in six months they were playing in front of an audience as a formal band.

After participating in several samplers, VIA OBSCURA releases their first studio albums called "Traum" in 2009, and it's really impressive. They manage to blend the drama of Gothic Rock not only with the energy of Heavy Metal but also with the delicacy of Symphonic Prog, enhanced by the wonderful voice of Anne and the marvelous performance of all the band members.

Still I'm not sure of this is a pure Symphonic album, band honestly don't care, being that the music is breathtaking and the classical elements are enough to be loved by all the fans of the genre.

I just hope they give us a second album soon, which I'll be waiting with impatience.

Iván Melgar Morey :::: Perú

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VIA OBSCURA discography

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

4.81 | 7 ratings
3.98 | 13 ratings

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

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

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gedanken by VIA OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 13 ratings

Via Obscura Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Since I listened VIA OBSCURA'S debut Traum instantly became a fan of the band, the ethereal voice of Anne Thinius that gives me goosebumps, added to the solid bass of Andre Manke plus the accurate percussion and Steve Hackett inspired guitar of Alexander Thinius, makes of this trio a great ensemble.

Unfairly catalogued as Goth, the band started their career as some sort of oneiric Symphonic project with heavy fugues in their first album, and they follow that path in the second release Gedanken, where they lost some of the naive darkness, but gain in experience and a more developed sound with excellent orchestral arrangements.

In Traum Anne was amazing in the vocals, but now she has also grown as a keyboardist creating a Baroque sound that reminds me of Symphonic Metal bands, but Alexander avoids shredding in order to focus more in atmospheres, so the band maintains they're Classical / Symphonic / Gothic sound that made them well known and respected. .

It's hard to make a song by song review, because Gedanken is created in such way that each track fits perfectly where they are as a piece of a puzzle, but still I have to mention the impressive Dreck where the amazing intro doesn't prepare the listener for the atmospheric music that follows.

Another favorite is Wind mainly because of Anne's vocals in German, proving that artists from this part of the world should chose their native language rather and an artificial English with heavy accent. Simply delightful.

And of course I must mention the opener Moment with that dreamy atmosphere that seems to be the band's trademark, with soft transitions instead of radical changes, but perfectly elaborate with no weak passages.

I could go on with every song, but would take me hours and could ruin the listener's experience with cheap words that can't describe the unique style of VIA OBSCURA, a band that I hope will keep releasing more albums in the next years.

Now comes the difficult rating, because if I hadn't listened their brilliant debut, I would go with 5 stars, but being that Gedanken is slightly less impressive than Traum (Which I rated with a perfect 5), will have to go with 4 stars that would be 4.5 if the system allowed this.

Still, we're talking about a record that is half step from being a masterpiece, and deserves a place in any musical collection..

 Gedanken by VIA OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 13 ratings

Via Obscura Symphonic Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Ethereal and regal, heavy yet brooding, with Gothic edges

Via Obscura are a 3-person German band "inspired by the spirit of classical Gothic, European classical music and progressive rock leaning in to 70s (prog) rock sound." They started in 2004 and have just released their 2nd full length album "Gedanken" in late 2012, following 2009's "Traum." I'm so happy to have stumbled on this late in the year and found it to be completely engaging and interesting.

"Gedanken" is a truly gorgeous album with a rich and refined sound, though not overblown or garish. Because of the formal soprano female vocals they may instantly be compared to the likes of Nightwish, Epica, etc, but Via Obscura are quite different. This is not really a metal band though they may be compared to Gothic metal bands possibly. The sound is softer and slower, more meticulous and carefully considered. There are heavy distorted power chords backing soaring electric leads, all very melodic and powerful, but it never crosses into metal territory. In fact, the pacing of the music is almost closer to post-rock, remaining quite slow and consistent through the track, yielding a very dreamy, meditative state. This ethereal feeling is captured with beauty and great feeling by Anne-S's vocals. Bass, guitar, drums, and orchestrations are all tastefully and methodically executed by Alexander and Andre. The bass sound is warm while Thinius' solos (such as on "Moment") sound truly composed rather than random fiery shredding, they are beautiful, swelling, and emotional.

The result is a stirring heavy-symphonic sound deeply bathed in classical music and Gothic overtones. "Wind" is a perfect example of a typical Via Obscura delight, beginning quietly with piano and delicate guitar brush strokes, building slowly but surely to a much louder and powerful climax. A special mention must go to Siggi Bemm who recorded and co-produced the album with Via Obscura. Where rock and classical experiments can often go awry, Bemm presents this band tastefully and with exceptional sound clarity. Every iota of performance, some very subtle and quiet, are captured and clear. When the band transitions to the loud payoff sequences the listener is enveloped but the clarity is not lost. As mentioned initially I think the secret is that Via Obscura is not drowned in grandiosity and too many layers...there is a reserved quality to the arrangement that allows the performances to shine through. It is never "thin" and it can rock out, but it is never smothered to death in too much sound like some bands will do. A really fantastic experience.

While the influences and genre tendencies may vary, I suspect Via Obscura would appeal to fans of Sweden's Paatos quite well. Both bands put me in a similar place despite coming from different backgrounds. I recommend this band to anyone and feel it is one of 2012's stand-out releases. Please check it out on Bandcamp before finalizing your "best of 2012" ballots!

 Traum by VIA OBSCURA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.81 | 7 ratings

Via Obscura Symphonic Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Since I heard MIRANDA SEX GARDEN and DEAD CAN DANCE, I always pay special attention to bands labeled as Goth with classical influences, because I always believed that Goth is a close relative of Prog, so being that this is the case of VIA OBSCURA, bought their album Traum as soon as I was informed of it's existence..And was impressed.

Their music is full of drama, enhanced by the powerful and operatic voice of Anne-S. Thinius, perfectly complemented by the amazing performance of the multi-instrumentalist Alexander Thinius in the guitar and drums plus the sober and always accurate work of André Manke on the bass. Together they have created a solid project that blends Symphonic Prog, Heavy Metal and Classical Baroque Music, with the dramatics of Goth, relaying on imaginative and original compositions that have thrilled and captured me from the first listen.

The album is opened by the gloomy piano introduction of Sie that really breaks my heart with emotions that go from sadness to some sort of claustrophobia?.Two powerful sentiments that the band transmits with impeccable skills. But that's not all, as the song advances and the voice is added, the sensation of melancholy grows in intensity that is even boosted more by the heavy guitars, percussion and breathtaking choirs, delightful from start to end.

Substanz starts heavier with drums and bass, but after a few seconds the voice, piano and distorted guitar join the scene to create another heartbreaking musical piece that blends the spirit of Hard Rock with the structure and beauty of Symphonic Prog, without leaving behind their trademarked obscure and mysterious sound. Again the choirs are perfect to create a powerful sound with a delicate structure. I can't imagine this music in a different language than German, is just the right choice instead of falling in the common error of adding English vocals with a strong accent, this formula is repeated with success in the stronger and even darker Traum, which kept me at the edge of the seat from the first to the last note. Schiksal begins with a bass and drums introduction that caught me by surprise, not even the familiar voice of Anne-S and the Classical oriented passages sound as in the previous tracks, this is heavier and stronger with an organ section replacing the piano, not what I expected but as nice change that demonstrates the versatility of the musicians. The finale is simply brilliant.

Apparently Schiksal marked a turning point in the album, because the sound changes dramatically, a change that's more evident in Winter where a heavier organ almost replaces completely the sentimental piano, still the Symphonic and Classical elements are present, but now we are talking about some sort of melodic Metal song, again not what expected, but I like the surprises, and the mood of the music hasn't changed.

Now is the turn for Grau where the band returns to the style of the firtst songs, but this time they bring a new and fresh Jazz ambient that melts perfectly with the dramatic Classical oriented music, adding something new for the delight of the listener, who never loses the interest, because there's something new in each song.

In Stille the band keeps changing, we have more Jazzy percussion and bass with heavy Gothic (in the sense of late medieval) music, if there's something called a Power Ballad, I would describe Stille as a Power Madrigal, beautiful, nostalgic, dramatic, but as usual full of strength and mystery, the bells that blend this track with - really freaked me, but loved the effect crated by this talented guys and must only add that - works as an epilogue for Stille.

The album is closed by the heavy Medieval Weg, an instrumental that comprises everything that VIA OBSCURA presented in the album but weirder and more dissonant than ever, without doubt the perfect closer for an extraordinaire album.

By general rule, I never give the maximum rating to a debut album, no matter how good it is, because that would be considering that the band reached their peak, when they are only starting their career, but I will make an exception with Traum, being that I believe we are in front of one of the most promising bands of the decade who offer us a versatile and original album that could mark the start of a new era in Symphonic Prog, so 5 stars it is.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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