Obscura are a progressive/technical/melodic death metal band from Germany and this is their sixth album.
Following up on 2018’s Diluvium, 2021’s A Valediction contains 52 minutes of new material. The band have opted for a of a change of direction on their latest album, but despite this it’s still a version of the band so many know and love.
Obscura conjure and maintain impressive soundscapes that are both complex and rich. Their sound is a tapestry of creative influences, ideas, and nuances, all given form under the aegis of a sleek death metal framework. On A Valediction this has a different emphasis than previously; Obscura have injected a large amount of melodic death metal into their sound.
Let me just say it; this album is a resounding success.
The music is very well-written and performed, as well as impeccably produced. Obscura have never sounded better; full, clear, well-rounded, and crisp. The album is as high a quality product as you can get, but it’s the songs that really matter, of course, and Obscura’s new tracks do not disappoint.
The band play largely fast and aggressive, with the sharp music slicing and dicing with enviable technical skill. They are, of course, equally capable of pulling off the atmospheric and epic, as well as the occasional bit of rolling groove or meaty riffing too. It should also almost go without saying that the melodies, leads, and solos are massively impressive and immersive throughout. There’s also so much wandering bass floating about that if you’re not careful you may trip over it.
A Valediction isn’t business as usual for Obscura though, as mentioned above. There’s less of the progressive and technical influences, and more of a melodic death metal slant, (there’s even a guest spot on one song from the singer of Soilwork). Due to this, there’s less diversity of approach overall, and more speed and melodic aggression. This shouldn’t be taken as a negative though, especially as there is still diversity and progressive/technical influences here, just streamlined versions of these. The band’s refined assault has allowed them to really focus on the task at hand, and they have produced eleven tracks of techy, riff-heavy, melodic heaven.
The singer’s voice probably sounds at its strongest and rawest on this record. His higher rasped delivery is at its peak for me. Also, for the first time I realise that he also reminds me of the singer of Slaughter of the Soul-era At the Gates, at least here he does.
A Valediction is surprising, impressive, and very enjoyable. Obscura have unleashed a superlative album into the world, one which deserves to be heard far and wide.
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