Obscura: Akróasis

Germany’s tech-death titans return and conquer

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In the five years since the release of their third album, Omnivium, Obscura have lived up to their name by keeping schtum while death metal has undergone all manner of abuse at the hands of half-hearted amateurs and squinting charlatans. That the genre remains so creatively fertile is testament to its longevity and heart, but the Germans’ return is still cause for celebration.

Akróasis may not consistently top the globe-squashing majesty of past triumphs like Ocean Gateways, it certainly matches its predecessor pound-for-pound and provides ample evidence that a progressive mindset is the only credible way to move music of any stripe forward. Veering from proudly Schuldiner-ised explorations to frostbitten blasts and moments of artful thrash, songs like The Monist and Ode To The Sun offer sonic journeys that are as supremely fluid and cohesive as they are convoluted, with tons of dark atmosphere and flashes of melodic ingenuity belying Obscura’s status as technical wizards. It ends with Weltseele: not just the band’s finest moment to date, but a bewitching 15 minutes of post-everything extremity that points the way to an extraordinary future.