Obscura – “Diluvium” (Relapse Records)
In geological terms, a diluvium describes deposits following an outburst from something like a giant, glacier dammed lake – if so, this 5th album from German technical death metallers Obscura couldn’t be better titled! Concluding a 4 album concept that started with 2009’s “Cosmogenesis”, “Diluvium” brings forth an apocalyptic ending that couldn’t be better spelled by the bountiful amounts of technical virtuosity exuding from all members of the band – and if that’s how you like your metal, then the material should satiate even the most demanding of techno-geeks. That said, the Death inspired core of Obscura is still there, although less aggressive so the diluvium in this case, relates to the deluge of flowing prog melodies, mesmerising jazz solos, synth vocals and orchestral aspects, the 11 tracks here of which are rich, and almost drunk with given the awesome musical talent on show here. Thanks to the excellent production of V. Santura (Triptykon, Pestilence), the superb sound quality allows not just every instrument, but all the notes and beats to be heard thus allowing this technically diverse music to be appreciated all the more! New boy Rafael Trujillo (a graduate of the Munich Guitar Institute and who studies Jazz at the Conservatory of the Amsterdam University of the Arts) really shines and along with founder guitarist / vocalist Steffen Kummerer sets the pace on what is the album’s darkest track in ‘Mortification Of The Vulga’ and despite the roars and heavy riffs, the fluid virtuosity and heavenly melodies soon shine, along with an acoustic passage where Linus Klausenitzer gets to show his own fretless bass techniques before an explosive poly-rhythmic ending. Injecting the speed on ‘Ekpyrosis’, drummer Sebastian Lanser muscles in with his percussive brilliance on which all the guitars once again dance so majestically together before blossoming in their individual glory while keeping with the catchiness of the overall song and not becoming technically self indulgent. For old fans, ‘The Conjuration’ with its bottom heavy furore and thrashing beat along with Kummerer’s harsh roars sees the technicality (while still there) take a less prominent position in favour of an old school headbang as the solos squeal and wail while Lanser’s double bass drums go into occasional overdrive – superb! If pushing the envelope is what Obscura have been trying to achieve then “Diluvium” is a resolute success and one they should be proud of – and one can only wonder where they go to next…?