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Obscura's 2011 release "Omnivium" is without a doubt one of the best releases from the band and truly showcases why this band, its members, and releases have become staples of the technical death metal world.
Obscura is no stranger to technicality as they've showed with their past releases (especially on their 2009 release Cosmogenesis) but they really went for more than sheer technicality with Omnivium. Omnivium contains just as many beautiful acoustic sections as well as clean vocal sections as it does sweeps and blast beats. The clean vocals done by Steffen ran through a vocoder on such tracks as Prismal Dawn and Celestial Spheres give the listener a sense of euphoria and beauty while tracks such as Ocean Gateways and Vortex Omnivium still broadcast that sheer death metal brutality that brings in many listeners in the first place.
Obscura's lineup for this album is beyond perfect and every single one of the members showcases their abilities perfectly and beautifully throughout the entirety of the album. Steffen's rythym guitar work is nothing less than staggering and with the accompaniment of his clean and harsh vocals he truly gives every track a vibrant and powerful feeling to them. Hannes's drum work adds an amazing base to the structure of the album and is just predominant enough for the audience to enjoy it without being pulled away from the rest of the song. Similar to Hannes, Jeroen's bass work is absolutely beautiful and truly adds something to the album that became a deciding factor in its greatness. With a immense amount of bass solos and predominant riffs Jeroen demonstartes how stunningly beautiful a six string frettless bass can sound. Last but certaintly not least Christian's lead guitar work is completley earth shattering and ming boggling. Throughout the whole album extremely complex and stunning guitar riffs and solos are displayed and are played perfectly without a single slip up.
All the members and their musical abilities truly come together in Omnivium and form an over all perfect tone and feeling with it. Omnivium is easily one of the best albums within the technical death metal genre and will live on as such for years to come.
This band of German/Dutch virtuosos rose from the ashes to capture the quintessence of progressive death metal music. Previously, Necrophagist were considered the band that was unique in this respect and after the release of this record I believe Obscura did them one better. This is in part because of the unfortunate departure dynamic Christian Muenzner and Hannes Grossman, who both left Necrophagist and ended up joining Steffen Kummerer and his ventures into death metal. Omnivium takes enormous influences from both technical/progressive as well as neoclassical music and the result is one of the most intimidatingly complex, ambitious metal albums in the history of the genre.
A warning to any prospective listeners - you must give this album several chances. Multi-layered guitar parts, odd-time signatures as well as searing shred guitar, this record is full of tricks. Unlike many bands, Obscura are not shy about revealing their influences, with tracks such as "Ocean Gateways" being a very good example of a Morbid Angel-style track and "Primal Dawn" taking a thing or two from Emperor/Ihsahn, and of course you have the counterpoint influences from Sebastian Bach. Not to mention of course, the core of their sound is ultimately Death/Necrophagist derived.
The drumming is absolutely sublime and not just mindless blast beats. This is perhaps one of the most admirable things about Hannes Grossmann , he is extremely versatile and doesn't hesitate to slow things down to give the band some breathing space. Coupled with his songwriting ability and you have a very valuable asset. The bass, courtesy of Jeroen Thessseling, is very expressive and unlike 90% of death metal records, it's pretty persistent throughout the entire album. Thesseling, who now left the band, is an unbelievably gifted bassist. In my opinion one of the crowning achievements of this record is how high the bass goes, and the contrast of his playing to the rest of the stringed instruments. It's not so much about blinding speeding or arpeggios but more about bringing the most melodic sound out of a 7-string bass. Thesseling will be sorely missed.
For this record, Obscura adopted 7 string guitars on all of their songs, and tune everything one step down. As a result, this album is a lot darker than Cosmogenesis and also, a lot more complicated. For me, the essence of Obscura are their guitar players, Steffen Kummerer is an admirably skilled rhythm player who also plays a couple of leads on the record. The rhythm sections are mostly Death/Necrophagist sounding but with more layered parts - creating what Steffen refers to as a "wall of sound". This is why it is impossible to listen the album just once, because there is so much going on even the most experienced listeners will miss certain nuances that make this album a true death metal gem. Intriguingly, the record takes a lot of Black Metal and Neoclassical influences, both of which I would say are somewhat represented evenly on the record. This is not a hallmark of most progressive metal that I have heard, and in their current status - there is no indication which direction they'll dive into next.
In terms of songwriting, this album is also quite different from Cosmogenesis, a change that, for me, is quite welcome. The blast beats and rapid fire palm-muted riffs have not disappeared; for the most part the band sticks to about 50% of its formula from Cosmogenesis, however the riffs and melodies are incredibly 'epic', a sound consistent with the theme of the album. This is, after all, inspired by Friedrich Schelling's work, whom Kummerer cites as being a big influence for this album, so you could see how Omnivium is an attempt to capture this grandiose, conceptual basis into an album and fuse it with the music and lyrics. In addition, the cheesy Cynic vocal lines have disappeared, which is a very good thing.
For me, this record put Obscura far ahead of their American/Canadian death metal counterparts. Firstly, this is far more difficult to absorb. There are so many parts to each song - overlapping guitar pieces and bass interludes - which I can imagine are extremely difficult to play live. Secondly, there is a real emphasis on being as musical (not melodic!) as possible, whereas I always got the impression bands like The Faceless and Beyond Creation focused on being very fast or unpredictable. This is technical music whilst remaining elegant, symphonic, and actually listenable - it makes mathematical sense. Obscura have no rigid song structure that limits them and every song is an attempt at something new.
Hopefully this is just the beginning, for a lot is expected from this band. On an individual level, these musicians remind me of Dream Theater where each member is unbelievably accomplished and I expect that they continue to release highly musical and dexterous material and also begin including a lot more clean vocal bits into their music.
In conclusion, this is a must listen for any death metal fan. These guys have set the standard for what makes good progressive death metal and this is just the beginning.
This album took me by surprise. Why? Because I usually do not follow bands such as Obscura. Yes, I do like Spawn of Possession and Necrophagist. . . but bands like Origin are omitted from my library. In a nutshell, I find a lot of tech death to be quite overrated. Some people call it 'wankery' tech death. Why am I telling you this? Because for a long time I thought Obscura to be one of those bands. I had heard Anticosmic Overload and I pretty much wrote them off as a bad Necrophagist/Death hybrid. Of course I was horribly wrong, because when this album came out I was curious enough to check it out. I was not disappointed. The album is far from perfect, though, which is why I don't give it a higher score.
The first thing that I'd like to comment on is the fretless bass. As a bass player myself, one thing I really look for when I listen to death metal is a prominent bass. These guys did an amazing job, or the bass player did, rather. The bass sound is mixed in rather high and it doesn't just follow the guitars the whole time. The solos that the bass presents in this album are far from lackluster and really adds to the atmosphere and feel of the album.
The guitars aren't that much different from the last album except for one thing. When you listen to songs like Septuagint you can hear the clarity of the guitar sound that wasn't present in Cosmogenesis. The acoustic passages are very well written and give you a break from the progressive riffing that you previously heard.
The vocals. . . are annoying as hell. The only thing that I really had any beef with was the vocals. The vocalist is just annoying. His high pitched wail works, but in Thulcandra. This is clearly not Thulcandra. He sounds very whiny and his voice cracks a bit in this album. Steffen's vocals are worse than they are on Cosmogenesis. He doesn't sound like Muhammed from Necrophagist and he certainly doesn't sound like Chuck Schuldiner (I don't see where the comparisons come from. Just because you have high pitched yelling does not make you Chuck Schuldiner). If they gave Steffen the boot (at least on vocal duty) and gave the mic to someone else then they'd have gotten a better score than they did on this one.
The drums are great, although not exactly the most remarkable thing I've ever heard. I've heard better, but the guy still gets the job done. All in all, this album proves that Obscura is not in the same boat as 'wankery' tech death. It is its own entity and is not bad if you actually give it a listen. If I were to try to convince someone to like Obscura I'd hand them this album.
I had heard only a handful of songs by Obscura before deciding to buy Omnivium. I was pulled in by how much the band sounded like some of my favorite American death metal bands of the early 90s, specifically Cynic and Death. In Omnivium they kept only elements of their previous sound and its safe to say I did not get what I was expecting.
The bass while still pretty audible plays much less of a role than on say Cosmogenesis. This kind of bummed me out because it was in my eyes a pivotal part of Obscura’s sound that I really liked. It’s still there though and you still can here it much more than usual by comparison to other bands. Listen to Septuagint and you can pick it out pretty easily.
Septuagint is actually a really cool song to start the album with too. There is a little acoustic intro then the song rockets away for the next 7 minutes. There are tons of harmonized leads here which draw comparison to other bands like Nueraxis and Quo Vadis who play a technical form of melodic death metal.
The drumming is really great but it’s the tone of the snare that seems to really mar the album for me. It sounds like Hannes Grossmann is hitting a piece of plastic. To me it sounds so weak and in no way at all organic and hardly like a drum at all. This is really a shame because Hannes’ drumming on Omnivium is great. He has hit that mark between being technical but not so overly technical that his drumming seems to be going everywhere and nowhere at once. Like say the drumming on the Arsis album We Are The Nightmare, jeeze.
There are still a lot of riffs on this album and my favorites have to be on Ocean Gateways, Septuagint, and Celestial Spheres. Most of Ocean Gateways is a slower meandering affair with little flares of speed at certain times while Septuagint is all about speed and Celestial Spheres finds a medium between the two. And the instrumental A Transcendental Serenade is a really fun listen where the band sort of lets loose.
Vocally there are a few different variations here. There is a deep death growl, a higher pitch scream. And a vocoder! This obviously draws similarity to Cynic’s Focus but I have to say the way it is done here is more subtle than Paul did on Focus. Both the more extreme vocals are ok and nothing out of the ordinary for the genre but the use of the vocoder adds a little something for those of us who enjoyed Focus but felt it was used a bit too much.
So Obscura in my eyes are successful in my eyes with Omnivium. They wear their influences a bit less on their sleeves but you can still tell where they are coming from and they have sort of given it more spin of their own so they are less of a clone. The vocals are ok and the vocoder is a nice touch as well. The songs are easy to enjoy to the ears of someone not really attuned to technical death metal which makes this a winner.
Originally reviewed @ http://abaddonsmetalshop.blogspot.com/
Obscura worshippers act like the band's sporadic take on the progressive/technical death metal sound could cure amnesia, gout, and maybe ADHD to a certain degree. Obscura's universe grew from stardust to the whooping supernova that it is now particularly with the release and warm reception of "Cosmogenesis" in 2009, and many were attracted to the group's updated version of progressive/technical death metal which was originally wired by Atheist, Cynic and the other originators of radical extremity. I was pretty dodgy when it came to finally checking out Obscura because the band's following was too sudden and voluminous, and Necrophagist associations were flying from every angle of the fanboy spectrum, which was enough to make me vomit uncontrollably.
But I finally let my guard down, and now I'm pretty sold on these guys. I mean, the formula they use is a proper representation of how progressive death metal should appear, but at the same time, Obscura manages to muster enough clarity and substance within the group's basic (if you can call it that) equation. "Omnivium" is quite tame for an album that is clearly on the evolved side of things, with the guitar work revolving around everyday techniques and riffs of death metal, yet the band's main bloodline finds itself mashed into abnormal scales and celestial elements that scream of progressive influence and abstract technicality. They also manage to throw in an abundance of spastic bass playing and neoclassical solos which oddly bend and twist to match the group's harsh agenda. Not very original, but still listenable and enjoyable.
The opening "Septuagint" sticks to an abrasive edge of harsh melodic death metal that explores the outer limits of progressive music incredibly well, and the band's musical performance transcends above the other units of "Omnivium" with little problem. The crushing grooves of "Ocean Gateways" are another stand out, whereas the group's plunge into modernity makes "Primal Dawn" and "Euclidean Elements" killer tracks as well, both catchy and budding with addictive hooks and abstractions. "A Transcendental Serenade" presents a progressive-laden approach most of "Omnivium" hinders, but at the same time there are blast beats and that weird vocoder thing that Cynic uses; again, another consistent tune.
"Omnivium" really isn't extraordinary. Musically, no barriers are broken. However, the listen that ensues seldom fails on a massive level, or even manages to bore for that matter. Obscura is at least a compelling progressive act which triggers a glowing sense of authentic technicality stacked with more riffs and mesmerizing solos than the Origins or Necrophagists of technical death metal's forefront. Don’t prepare for a total reanimation of progressive/technical death metal; instead, allow Obscura to channel their influences through a modern medium, and then you will see why Obscura has the means to rightfully reign over this new age of death metal progression.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
I'll start off by saying that Obscura is one of my favorite bands so you'll hear very little critisism about them from me. I also love technical death metal but this is in a league of it's own. When I first heard Septuagint a few weeks before the album came out I was blown away. I listened to it almost everyday and was so fucking stoked for the whole album. Now, sometimes, if you have high expectations for something, the actual thing can't match up and you're left feeling a little disappointed. I was hoping that would not be the case with Omnivium and let me tell you, it definitely was not. This album is amazing all the way through.
I'm a drummer so I usually focus on the drums and Hannes Grossmann certainley delivers with relentless, extremely creative drum lines. The blasts (which can become very tedious and dull) are always placed perfectly and are very fun to listen to. He has to be one of the best drummers I have ever heard. Him, along with George Kollias, Flo Mounier (on Cryptopsy's earlier stuff like None So Vile and Blasphemy Made Flesh) and Allan MacDonald, always take my breath away when I lsten to them play but, in my opinion, Hannes Grossmann is the best of these four exceptional drummers and he certainley shows it on Omnivium. Every song has very difficult and interesting drums that are completely different from the last. Easily some of the best drumming I've heard on any album in any genre.
The guitar here is also very interesting to listen to and always keeps your attention with extremely well written riffs that go on for just the right length, never too long but not too short either. Many modern technical death metal bands have stupid, boring riffs that never last more than like 20 seconds, if not less, to change to more boring, short riffs. But Obscura has managed to still have very technical and cool sounding riffs without it being annoying "wankery" like bands such as Brain Drill or Viraemia.
The bass is also fucking amazing. Jeroen Paul Thesseling is a goddamn beast. His bass parts are some of the most intricate bass lines I've ever heard as well. The bass is quite high in the mix and it doesn't always follow the guitar but goes off and does it's own thing which always sounds amazing. The only complaint I have with this is that I thought they should have put more bass solos in but there is already quite a few cool bass bits but when you hear them, you just want to hear more because it's so awesome. His tone fits perfectly with the rest of the album and it's just... so fucking cool sounding. I don't know how to describe it really but you'll know what I mean. Damn this guy is good.
The only problem I have with the album (and it is still a very small problem) is the vocals. For the most part they are very good but I've always been a fan of very low gutturals which Obscura doesn't have a lot of, but again, this is a very minor complaint because they still fit extremely well with the music so it really doesn't matter. I really like their use of the vocoder and clean vocals, It makes it sound very spacey if you know what I mean.
So if you haven't already listened to this album, LISTEN TO IT NOW. Belive me, you'll listen to it many more times afterwards. It never gets dull and I've been listening to it almost nonstop since it came out more than two weeks ago. Do not download it, this bands deserves the money and this album is well worth it. You will not regret it.
Favorites: Pretty much everything but especially, Euclidean Elements, Prismal Dawn and A Transcendental Serenade.
By a turn of events that resulted in their previous album "Cosmogenesis" earning healthy levels of plaudits and recognition, German technical death metallers Obscura now find themselves as a near scene-leading band with the release of new album "Omnivium", a work which is sure to see their profile rise even higher. Those well acquainted with said previous album will be aware of the band's fantastic technical skills and ability to write a catchy tune (see "Anticosmic Overload" for absolute confirmation of this); naturally these factors have hardly diminished in the intervening two years, but has the knack of writing consistently engaging death metal been thrust upon them?
Unlike two of their most obvious influences - Death and Morbid Angel - this trait is still not so fully discernible. First, however, the many plus points to "Omnivium". Though I s'pose in the same scene as the likes of Nile, Dying Fetus, Origin and Decrepit Birth, Obscura sound unlike any of them; their lack of overall brutal-ness, combined with greater Death-like song structures gives the band an air of confidence and utmost professionalism, greatly evidenced in "Euclidean Gateways". "Ocean Gateways" stands out as a particularly inspired reference to Morbid Angel through Steffen Kummerer's gruff vocals and the power of the song's slower speeds which have been harnessed to ring as heavy as any of the band's frequent top speed movements.
Jeroen Paul Thesseling remains a wizard on the 6-string fretless bass. Like Steve DiGiorgio through Death's faultless "Human" and "Individual Thought Patterns", the softer tones generated by his style offers Obscura the rare selling point of an audible bass with a thumping bottom end to further their distinction from the other acts of today. Among others, "Velocity" is the home to greater experimentation in vocal styles than was seen on "Cosmogenesis", with Kummerer breaking out some spacey sound effects befitting the band's lyrical preoccupation with matters of celestial magnitude, though largely sadly beyond me at least without the aid of a lyric sheet.
As mentioned however, Obscura have not yet fully exploited an ability to pen an album chock full of top-class top-level death metal as a few too many moments drift by without answering the listener's desire for more memorable and catchy riffs. Numerous completed listens with limited lasting points of memory lead me to declare they have yet to show the honed songwriting of a "Human" LP, but then frankly, how many other bands can match Death at their finest? For my money "Omnivium" features too few "Anticosmic Overloads", those tracks that remain as surefire inclusions on any live set, however Obscura do still have here an album on par with their mighty previous effort and one that cements their reputation as a thinking man's death metal band - one to be approached for a most serious mental examination.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Having produced one of 2009's more enticing progressive/tech death albums in Cosmogenesis, Obscura proved they were a band to pay close attention to; perhaps a supplement to the niche left void at the passing of Death, the mutation of Cynic, or the rebirth of the Dutch Pestilence to more brutal fundamentals. For surely, the Germans' cosmic and philosophical leanings are an extension of Schuldiner's Human vision, or Spheres, or Focus (they've even got Jeroen Paul Thesseling playing bass). However, they had created a sophomore album so impressive and compact that it might not have held up to direct recycling for its follow-up, and thus Omnivium introduces a few outside elements that were not so obvious on the predecessor.
The most noticeable of these are likely found in the opener "Septuagint", which is essentially a melodic death piece with an opening sequence of clean guitars that recall such usage of artists like In Flames or Metallica. Once the slightly tech melodic death surge arrives, I was reminded heavily of Canada's Quo Vadis, a band I've never really been impressed with. You'll still hear the twisting, interstitial structures of Cosmogenesis riffing, but I found this track to grow sour on me pretty quickly. I had heard it before the album's release, thought it interesting, but ultimately it's not so enduring. "Ocean Gateways" is another swerve into variation, with a straight burst of double bass rolling, thick Thesseling bass manipulation and jangling guitars that create a cystic wall of spacial spears. Once again, it's a curious piece, but after a handful of listens it just fell out of favor. Both "Euclidean Elements" and "Vortex Omnivium" are more in line with the material from Cosmogenesis, but I found neither to be wholly engrossing, as the band tend to incorporate too much into the creative lifestream without much individual distinction.
However, the other half of the album is quite the opposite in quality. "Prismal Dawn" creates a mesmeric effect, almost psychedelic (ala Cynic), with the clean vocals and glorious, scientific precision, almost as if one of those episodes of The Universe on History channel were adapted to a tangible, musical flesh. "A Transcendental Serenade" returns to clean guitars, but they are swollen in volume swells and erupt into well placed, crushing mutes and a scintillating tapestry of bass and guitar melody. I also found the majestic "Celestial Spheres" and the woeful, ponderous "Velocity" to hold their own thrills, and the closer "Aevum" serves as a qualitative bridge between the stronger and weaker material. There's also a bonus track on the deluxe edition of the CD, Cacophony's "Concerto", originally found on their Speed Metal Symphony LP. An interesting choice, and surely the Germans are up to the task of adapting Friedman and Becker into a slightly more brutal context, but apart from the novelty, it doesn't add a lot.
I was really torn with this album. It's got the same, superlative modern production aesthetics that will either absorb the prog-seeker or send the modern tech-death hater screaming away in fits of agony. To some extent, this is necessary, as the band are hurtling ideas faster than some listeners might be able to comprehend them, and at least you can get a clear grasp on them. I found the cleaner vocals to be rather nice here, but the gutturals level with Cosmogenesis. Yet as a whole, the content seems fairly inconsistent. Its predecessor might not have promised the same level of adventure and variation as Omnivium, but it overall more impressive than this. I can certainly picture myself returning to "Prismal Dawn", "A Transcendental Serenade" and perhaps a few of the others on a regular basis, but the first half of the album offers only a brief flirtation with curiosity, and no further compulsion. Overwhelming proficiency and potential yield mixed results here.
Looks like Obscura has done something else Necrophagist has yet to do, put out a new album in an acceptable amount of time. When I heard that the guitarist and drummer were leaving Necrophagist and joining another band I immediately got stoked. Their first album with them, Cosmogenesis, destroyed everything Necrophagist has done. Needless to say, I was beyond stoked for the followup.
I read all sorts of updates about the album. Studio videos, quotes about what they're doing on the album, etc. I was certainly already hyping myself up WAY TOO much. That can sometimes be a bad thing. You create this idea of something in your head and when it finally happens it can often be hard for the actuality of it to match what you expected.
Did this happen with Omnivium? Yes and no. When Cosmogenesis came out it immediately floored me. They had set a new bar for technical death metal. It quenched my thirst for new Necrophagist and it came with zero expectations. That can be a downside for a followup to any album a person loves. Upon first listen my pants were tight. Very tight. Second and third listens I found myself not enjoying it as much, but certainly loving it.
I took a week off from listening to it. I allowed it to digest and lay dormant in the back of my mind. When I revisited it I did so with a more open mind. The excitement of having a new Obscura album had worn off. On the next few listens I heard a much more mature band. The songwriting seems more cohesive and very well structured. In a genre that often comes off as dudes just wanking their guitar, the band kills it. They are not confined to any type of limitations.
Omnivium throws all sorts of different feelings at the listening. When I think they've softened up a bit with the extended usage of acoustic guitars and cleans parts I next find myself hearing sheer brutality which could drop into a jazzy break at the drop of a hat.
The band's 3rd full length is not one that can be taken in by just one listen. Sure, that first listen will have you ooohing and aaaahing like fireworks, but the more you let it sink in the more you realize how absurdly brilliant this band truly is.
Originally posted by me at Stereokiller.com:
Obscura's previous album, Cosmogenesis, gained the band a considerable amount of attention as far as being a progressive death metal band, and not just another tech-death band goes. With it's incorporation of jazz-fusion elements as well as various other prog influences, Obscura had become a force to be reckoned with. But in 2011, an even more monstrous being awaits to rise from the depths...
"Omnivium" is by far the band's most mature endeavor to date. Further capitalizing on the various aspects that made them famous on the last album, their latest full-length is loaded with far more perks that keep the music technical and brutal as one can hope it to be, and still withholding the artsy beauty seen on Cosmogenesis that can best be described as, Cosmogenesis on roids (especially since Christian and Steffen have begun using 7-string guitars, which make the music sound more dynamic).
Aside from the usual 240+ bpm blast-beats from Hannes Grossmann, beautiful fretless-bass work of Jeroen Paul Thesseling, the over-9000-notes-per-second solos by Christian Muenzner (and Steffen), and the banshee screams and throaty growls of Steffen Kummerer, there is much more variety to be found on this album. The opening track, "Septuagint", boasts a nice acoustic intro (as well as an acoustic outro) along with a nice calm clean-singing section in the middle of the song. Along with this, some very odd, but interesting tapping riffs accompanied by some flanger/phaser effects on the guitars make for a very psychedelic experience on songs such as "Vortex Omnivium" and "Euclidean Elements". Furthermore, for those fans of the sludgier songs of Morbid Angel (eg; God of Emptiness, Where the Slime Live, Summoning Redemption), there is the Morbid Angel-inspired "Ocean Gateways", with it's 7-string guitar chugs and double-bass beats.
For those who wants notably heavier songs, there's always "Euclidean Elements" to fill the void with it's blast beats, shredding solos, and crunchy 7-string guitar riffs, along with the "trippy" tapping section right before the solos, should entice any fan of technical death metal.
Albeit the extremity of the first four songs, the album tends to slow down from there. I'm not saying it gets boring (if anything, it gets more interesting), but the latter half of the album lacks the energy and flow of the first four songs. There's "Prismal Dawn", which further emphasizes progressive aspects and intricate melodies, as well as a nifty clean-guitar riff that reminded me of Animals As Leaders for a second. The next few songs, "Celestial Spheres" and "Velocity", go further on with such aspects, with the former leaning towards a more melodic edge, and the latter showcasing probably the most interesting solo I've heard Christian Muenzer play; imagine a cross between Paul Gilbert and Trey Azagthoth, especially near the end of which a flurry of "crackly" arpeggios formulates an atmosphere of discovery and observation.
The last two songs, "A Transcendental Serenade" and "Aevum", truly push the boundaries of what drummer Hannes Grossmann is capable of, venturing almost into hyperblasts (he hits the 260 bpm mark). The former, being a "semi-instrumental" (there are small bits of background vocals at the end), hosts an interesting combination of progressive melodies,acoustic guitar work, and more intriguing 7-string riffs, along with more tapping riffs. Lastly, the album closes with "Aevum", resonating with almost an industrial vibe, with it's rhythmic drum work and the grooving guitar riffs, with more blast beats thrown in the mix as well.
If you liked Cosmogenesis and you want to hear the next step for Obscura, you better buy this. Not having this album is like eating pancakes without syrup; it just doesn't make sense.
Yes, the question is how. How the hell did they make such a good album? I mean, I'm a full fledged fan of Cosmogenesis as it is, but did they really manage to one up it? I would say yes. If I may proceed.
The Cosmogenesis line up is back, but this time better than ever. The guitar work is even more creative than their last album, utilizing melodic acoustic passages, the crazy signature Thesseling bass lines are still there, and some of the most creatively played blast beats I have ever heard are here (I could really care less about blast beats, but if they're done as interestingly as they are on here, they sound amazing. HINT: variety makes a difference! hopefully vital remains reads this.) The vocals here now lean more towards the higher pitched screams that kummerer uses, putting less emphasis on the growls. There are even some clean passages, and i gotta say, it works pretty well. It's pretty safe to say that they've transitioned to a full blown progressive death band, as opposed to their tech death style in "retribution", or their prog/tech style in "cosmogenesis". Let me break down the tracks.
Septuagint- It starts out with a beautiful acoustic passage, building up to a powerful scream and a fast, Individual thought patterns esque guitar riff, and some powerful blasts. Some more powerful riffs come along, then a melodic part, complemented by an acoustic part and clean lyrics, this all eventually leads into a solo that almost sounds very 80's. It leads into Vortex Omnivium.
Vortex Omnivium- This song leads off in a Cosmogenesis fashion, with a lot of blast beats, then at 1:02 or so, a slowed down groove kinda part comes in, going well with the bass, then comes an awesome solo that reminds me of desolate sphere's solo. after the solo comes a really cool muted part, which is eventually met with some blasts. that brings us to ocean gateways.
Ocean Gateways- this song has some cool riffs, definitely not one of my favorites though. it's very mid paced, but is kinda boring for a while. Kummerer uses his lows here, but it's definitely appropriate for this song. It does transition to a slightly faster part, which then slows down for the solo, which is pretty interesting. The breakdown at the end is pretty cool, but other than that, not too special. Luckily, it's followed up by the incredible song Euclidean Elements.
Euclidean Elements- Right away you get bombarded by an amazing sweeping section, then it goes into some blasts and a fairly typical obscura verse. Then we come to a cool part with some fun sounding leads, and it's pretty double bass driven. The bass complements it pretty well too. this leads into the solo, which i must say, i'm not too found of the beginning of it, but then it leads into the sweeps, with the rhythm riff sounding awesome underneath it. I don't know why, but i love the way that they sweep, it sounds so good. Not too much more goes on in that song, which brings us to Prismal dawn.
Prismal Dawn- This is one of their proggier songs, starting out with acoustic guitars and clean lyrics, followed by a melodic, slow paced riffing style, with the eccentric sounding bass in the background. Things pick up, to be introduced with a fast, tremolo picked riff, more melodic riffing, and things take that course for a while. The solo comes in, nicely harmonized, backed by fast paced skank beats. It is definitely very Muenzner sounding. Only part worth noting afterwards is the strangly picked reverberating part. Next is Celestial Spheres.
Celestial Spheres- The song follows a consistent framework for a while, then comes to a part with clean lyrics, which brings in a short lead, then some acoustic riffing (the bass really really shines here), then some more riffing. Then comes one of the greatest solos on the album. In fact, i would mention that it comes at 3:20. HOLY SHIT IT IS SO GOOD! It's only about 30 seconds, but it has some of the sickest guitar work i've heard. Definitely one of my favorite songs on here. Next comes the monster of a song Velocity.
Velocity- I'm not sure how to describe this song. It starts off with some jarring notes, then it does something awesome. It brings on a cool blasting section, but with it comes a minimalist guitar lead, which has only like 4 notes. Now i find it to be cool because the blasts have such power, while the leads create a simple eerie sound, almost creating a antagonistic effect. I mean, just listen to it if you wanna hear it. the chorus then comes up, which is ever creepier sounding, then comes some more standard speedier riffing, followed by clean lyrics. This song then comes with another one of my favorite solos, starting at 3:15. it starts out pretty slow, with a drudging muted sound, then it comes up to some absolutely indescribable... "sound". this starts at 4:10. I'm pretty sure it just ends up becoming multi fingered tapping, but i'm not too sure. Next up is a transcendental serenade.
A Transcendental Serenade- This starts out with a heavy chugging guitar, complemented by an acoustic guitar, which i think is a pretty cool sound. we come to a cool lead, a pretty fast one to boot. then comes a riff very reminiscent of death. Then comes some blast beats with a pretty cool guitar lead, then some harmonized riffing, leading into another incredible solo. Nothing too atypical, but it's pretty good. Then comes Aevum, the final song.
Aevum- It had to end sometime. This starts out with some melodic guitar playing, then becomes aggressive, then we get into a speedy blasting section. After that is a slower, heavier riff with some pinch harmonics, then it comes back up to speed. More and more riffing, yelling, screams, it's all there. a short solo comes out of the woodworks, then we have more riffings. We're then treated with one last solo, then the song comes to a chugging close. Thus concludes the album.
For Fans of Obscura, you won't be disappointed. for newcomers of Obscura, you should be pretty happy. Of course this won't be for everyone, but most people will be very pleased. NOW GO GET IT!