Akróasis is an album came out last year from the German technical death metal band Obscura. They have had trouble keeping together the same lineup through their now four studio albums. Guitarist Tom Geldschläger just joined before this, their latest, album and even left after it. The only constant since Obscura’s inception in 2002 has been vocalist and rhythm guitarist Steffen Kummerer. This makes it quite impressive that they were still able to come together as one to create as fantastic piece of metal such as Akróasis.
First off, one would consider this to be primarily a technical death metal album but, as soon the first track “Sermon of the Seven Suns” begins the progressive aspects of Obscura are easily noticed. I feel like it is the best song from the album to open with. It kind of gives a preview for what is to come with the solos, breakdowns and heavy riffs. The catchiest songs are “Akróasis”, “Ten Sepiroth”, and “Ode to the Sun”. Each of these could have been the first single but I think they made a good choice with “Akróasis”. Its main riff is one of my favorite parts of the album. For a conclusion, Obscura comes at us with the 15 minute and 15 second long epic “Weltseele”. The longest song that Obscura has ever recorded is the best part of the album and is one of Obscura’s best songs to date. It incorporates so many elements: from a string section to acoustic breakdowns to fast and heavy death metal and all comes together seamlessly in a illustrious musical occurrence. “Weltseele” does what an epic song is supposed to do; take the listener on a journey through several different musical emotions while having seamless cohesion. It makes me want to get up and go outside and do something adventurous.
The musicianship, as expected, is at an extremely high level. Geldschläger shreds throughout the album and is able to give us flawless technical death riffs, progressive breakdowns and intricate high flying solos. Linus Klausenitzer plays the hell out of the fretless bass throughout Akróasis. He able to parrallel the lead guitar, go off on a tangent and come right back to the main melody effortlessly. There might be more bass solos than a Rush album but it works for them. Sebastian Lanser doesn’t blow me away with his drumming. I mean, he is very good, almost perfect for Obscura, and is the constant while Linus and Tom are reaching for all areas of the melodic spectrum but doesn’t separate himself too much from the countless other death drummers. I do love his work with the double bass drums though. Now we get to Steffen. His vocals are great, whether he is doing the deep death metal growl or the scratchy thrashier blacker death growl. By switching between the two he adds more to the album. His cosmic themed lyrics are complex and very deep in meaning but they are perfect for the type of music. You might have to go through the lyrics a few times to catch the exact meaning of every song but one breeze through you get the idea of it.
I think Akróasis is at par with the two previous albums from Obscura: Cosmogenesis and Omnivium. It is unbelievably technical and at some times unusual but it is an album I find myself listening over and over again. Add very good production and an interesting album cover, that is a continuation of the other Obscura albums, and it looks to be something I will have to grab on vinyl.
Take a listen to some of the songs below. (The guitarist in the Akróasis music video is their new one: Rafael Trujillo)