Obscura – Diluvium

Current relationship status with prog/tech death metal: it’s complicated. Usually my death metal preference is a bit straightforward (think Nile, Suffocation and more) I’ve always steered clear of the proggy/tech death metal (so yes, this is a noob review). Still, I’ve always had a weak spot for Germany’s Obscura, more old school death metal album Retribution and follow-up Cosmogenesis and also a more recent fling, the latest Alkaloid.

A couple of years ago, yours truly dubbed Akróasis the best album of the band to date. Assuming I meant it, I also haven’t listened often to it after. Reason? I’ve always found it challenging to get through the intricate, jazzy layers and get to the infectious phase. Will Obscura’s Diluvium change that? Who knows, stranger things have happened this year.

Firstly, Dilivium closes off a bigger concept (which we’ve already explored a bit in a previous interview), spread out over the past four records. While listening to the record the first time around, I quickly conclude that it’s a bit ‘easier’ than Akróasis and Omnivium. Of course, don’t expect the (magnificent) bass lines to be dropped, or structures to be less mind bogging and challenging. Opener “Clandestine Stars,” sounds like a true wizzkid masterpiece, with a pace that you’d compare to the speed of light and vocal effects that give it that outer space touch. This is the kind of song that is at the cradle of a genre.

There are a couple of tunes definetly have a bit more meat to them, to say it bluntly. For example, “Ethereal Skies,” featuring orchestrations (and a playful classical music-eqsue melodic guitar lead in the middle. We’re not just treated with math and complexity anymore, but also with melody. First single “Diluvium,” with its catchy chorus, (cue the deep grunts: Diluuuuuuviuuuuum), was the reason I decided to dive into the album in any case. Another favorite is “Mortification of the Vulgar Sun,” swaying between into heavy elements and stellar, beautiful (and no surprise there, layered) calm passages.

Even though I know that Diluvium needs a few more spins to completely land, I’m also sure that with a few more listening sessions, it will kick Akróasis off its throne. The album feels better balanced between the progressive escapades and (my personal preference for) extreme metal (did I mention the headbang riffs on “An Epilogue to Infinity”, oh man). Or, it’s just that I’ve developed my taste. In any case, Obscura has done what they’ve been doing since their inception, again: creating a prog tech death masterpiece and leaving fans, critics, doubters and bands in the same genre in complete awe.

By Laetitia

Label: Relapse Records
Release date: July 13, 2018

Rating: 9/10
Tracklist:
1. Clandestine Stars
2. Emergent Evolution
3. Diluvium
4. Mortification of the Vulgar Sun
5. Ethereal Skies
6. Convergence
7. Ekpyrosis
8. The Seventh Aeon
9. The Conjuration
10. An Epilogue to Infinity
11. A Last Farewell