There are certain bands that I know I can count on to deliver a quality album every time out. Obscura is one of those bands. Over the years, they have gotten better at what they do and it’s been a gradual process. What do Obscura do? It’s some of the most technical, progressive death metal ever. And over those years, members have come and gone but throughout it all leader Steffen Kummerer has kept the band always on course.
Their last album “Akróasis” was arguably their finest to date. Following the release of that album guitarist Tom Geldschläger was fired and Rafael Trujillo was hired. So now with this lineup in place, the band return with “Diluvium.” And like previous albums, this new one is full of tightly arranged, well played MEMORABLE prog death metal. Kummerer knows what he is doing and he never disappoints.
A major key to this album is the incredible fretless bass work of Linus Klausenitzer, who is also in the band Alkaloid with former Obscura members, Christian Muenzner and Hannes Grossmann. I’ve mentioned consistency and really the only fault I have with “Diluvium” is that it’s not BETTER than “Akróasis.” Having said that, with music as complex as this, it’s hard to commit to something like that after hearing this album far less than the previous one.
Panzerballet drummer Sebastian Lanser returns once again and as I’ve said many times, a band is only as good as their drummer and he is amazing. With his jazz metal background and Klausenitzer’s style, Obscura have a slight jazz lean to what they do. “Diluvium” takes full advantage of that.
One thing is clear however, Obscura fans will not be disappointed. The album starts off with “Clandestine Stars” which is 3 and a half minutes of classic Obscura. It’s punch in the face. From there, the next two tracks are along the same lines: heavy and technical. While those are certainly key components of the band’s style, it’s when they incorporate the element of dynamics that things get really interesting. “Mortification of the Vulgar Sun” and “Convergence” are two great examples of the band using all of their weapons and because of that, they are two of my favorite tracks.
“Ekpyrosis” is another one to look out for. It proves that Obscura are indeed progressive. While the album ends VERY strongly with “An Epilogue to Infinity” and the ethereal “A Last Farewell,” it does lack the longer epic that “Akróasis” had. This is by no means a big deal but if you are going to show me that you CAN do a longer track like that, well I am just going to want that again! “Diluvium” is yet another great album by a truly groundbreaking band in Obscura. Subtlety be damned, this one is designed to destroy you.
1. Clandestine Stars
2. Emergent Evolution
4. Mortification of the Vulgar Sun
5. Ethereal Skies
8. The Seventh Aeon
9. The Conjuration
10. An Epilogue to Infinity
11. A Last Farewell