November 24, 2021 Obscura – A Valediction (Album Review)
The struggle has been real for many musicians over the past two years who thrive on at least one major American tour per year. Showing patience, as well as persistence, Germany’s Technical Death Metal band Obscura are finally ready to take on the world once again with the release of their new album A Valediction.
Released via Nuclear Blast on Friday, November 19, 2021, it is their sixth studio album to date and is a top contender for their best. However, the real test will be how these new tunes stand up to the old tunes in a live setting, but it seems even upon first listen that they just might prevail.
Obscura is a unique project, founded by Guitarist/Vocalist Steffen Kummerer who has created some very technically secure stories of music since the band’s origin in 2002. Delving in almost operatic-like running tales of woes and triumphs, A Valediction rounds it all out perfectly. Current collaborators for this new effort include Christian Münzner on lead guitars, Jeroen Paul Thesseling on bass, and David Diepold on the drums.
Consisting of 11 tracks of shape-shifting melodies and technical mayhem, it begins with the 7 plus minute “Forsaken.” Starting off peaceful, it then takes a deep skydive into the brilliant chaos of Tech Death. A great way to start off the album, while it creeps out as softly as it crept in, “Solaris” comes next, throwing the heaviest of Obscura into your ears without warning.
Moving forward smoothly, Obscura continue to excels at their creatively technical stylings in a very fulfilling way. For example, the title-track is just as one would imagine it to be, even in it’s short, yet brutal timespan. Jumping ahead, “In Unity” really speaks for itself with its very exciting melodic brutality that could be explained best as Death Metal that Mozart might have composed. Following up the non-stop energy is a very growl based “Devoured Usurper.” Mixing lots of classic Death Metal with brutal Death Metal, and growth spurts of Technical Death Metal, the song showcases a unique approach that serves all of these styles at a high altitude. Pushing forward to “The Neuromancer,” there are some satisfying mind-blowing moments.
Which leads us to the theme of A Valediction, one which portrays the end of an era that absorbs into the new. In cases like these the kind of energy a person puts into it is what they get out of it. Listening to cuts such as “In Adversity” you can feel that the positivity of death exudes into a mindfuck of technical devouring. Finally, ending almost too soon, the album wraps up with “Heritage” which is a hefty over 5-minute chunk of Technical Death Metal fluidity.
It is easy to see why Obscura rose fairly quickly to the top of their class blowing up with headlining tours all over the map. While hearing their albums can be appealing, there is simply no substitute to baring witnessing their live performance. Hopefully 2022 will deliver as it is planned for them, and the world can enjoy traveling musicians once more. until then, A Valediction is a huge leap forward to an even more exciting future for Obscura. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.