Review: Obscura – Diluvium
Fretless bass makes everything better.
In the realm of technical and progressive death metal I feel that it’s become increasingly difficult for a band to maintain a distinct, recognizable sonic identity. While many bands have started to sound the same, one band that seems to maintain a recognizable sound is Obscura. On July 13th Obscura is dropping a new album called Diluvium via Relapse Records. With it do they retain their signature sound?
Diluvium starts off with“Clandestine Stars” which thrusts the listener quickly into Obscura’s tech death fury. What really stands outs is the furious drumming of Sebastian Lanser and the song’s occasional use of clean vocals to compliments Steffen Kummerer’s growls. While the first track wasted no time assaulting the listener, “Emergent Evolution” has a short build that leads into Lanser’s furious double bass highlighted by Rafael Trujillo’s otherworldly guitar solos.
The album’s title track “Diluvium” is more of a straightforward tech death song that will remind the listeners of Obscura’s earlier albums. This return to Obscura’s previous sound is rather short-lived as “Mortification of the Vulgar Sun” follows in the path of the first two songs, but with more of a Between the Buried and Me vibe.
Up to this point on the album, Obscura has been flirting with a proggier sound, but with “Ethereal Skies” the band openly embraces its progressive tendencies. It brings to mind both Between the Buried and Me and also Cynic. While on “Convergence” the band returns to a more balanced mixture of tech death and progressive death, similar to what was heard on the album’s first two tracks. “Convergence” is also treats the listener to another one of Trujillo’s enthralling, yet concise solos.
“Ekpyrosis” comes in as the album’s seventh song and provides the listener with a soft interlude that is dominated by more of Trujillo’s amazing guitar work and the soothing sounds of Linus Klausenitzer fretless bass. “Ekpyrosis” is easily one of my favorite songs on the album as it provides a definitive statement on what Obscura’s sound is. “The Seventh Aeon” is similar to the previous song with the continued prominence of the fretless bass at points, however the heaviness is never far from the surface.
While the heaviness was never far from the surface on the previous tracks, “The Conjuration” is one the album’s heaviest tracks and provides a respite from the proggier tone of the album. This proggier tone returns on the closing track “An Epilogue to Infinity”, but is balanced out with a closing of pure technical death metal that is reminiscent of Decrepit Birth.
Obscura’s Diluvium once again shows that Obscura is easily one of the most recognizable in progressive and technical death metal. Diluvium is without a doubt one of my favorite albums of 2018. The album is devoid of filler tracks as each track seems to have its own unique flare that it brings to the album. Obscura continues to blend the best of both technical and progressive death metal. Diluvium gets 5 out 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell.