In the beginning there was Death, then there was Necrophagist, and now there is Obscura, paving the way for technical death metal in the new era. I loved their last offering in 2011’s Omnivium, but was dismayed by the amount of line-up changes that were happening in the German camp leading up to the writing of what would be Akróasis. As soon as the first song Sermon of the Seven Suns began to play, all my doubts were immediately cleared, and I knew I was in for a stellar album.
Akróasis is a monster of an album, filled to the brim with all the melodic technical death metal goodness we have grown to know and love in Obscura. This is guitarist Rafael Trujillo’s first outing with the band, but seeing that he studies Jazz at the Conservatory of the Amsterdam University of the Arts, he fits right into the elite ranks of Obscura’s past and present musicians. There are plenty of blistering riffs, and mind-melting solos in this album, without resorting to brainless wankery that usually spells the doom for so many bands in this genre.
The drums are nothing but a worthy addition to the well oiled Panzerfaust that this album has proven itself to be. Bassist Linus Klausenitzer colors the dense soundscape with his trademark fretless basswork, which the production lets stand on its own throughout this record. This is the second time around that Obscura decided to add auto-tuned vocals in addition to the traditional Death-esque rasps, adding to the spacey feel and imagery in which Obscura has carved out its place.
Separate mention must be made of the closing track, the gargantuan Weltseele. Running a good fifteen minutes, this track could have been an EP in itself, especially since it diverges so sharply in its stylistic components. But by all the Eldritch Gods, what a song! Obscura really launches listeners into the black beyond with the soaring keyboard-guitar combinations and then brings you crashing down to the surface with bone-crushing intensity. Wow!
My only complaint as with most technical bands is that it runs too dense, and too long; and sadly, Akróasis also suffers from a similar malady, that of packing too much into a package that tires out its listeners. Especially with Weltseele, it feels like a tad too much for even the most hardcore technical death metal fan such as myself. But Obscura will continue to push its brand of metal beyond the limits of time and space, regardless of what we foolish mortals think!