OBSCURA - Akroasis

I've been listening to a lot of Queensryche today.  In fact, I was listening to Queensryche's latest release (foreshadowing alert) when I started writing this review.  So like, now.  I'm listening to it now.  You could say that I'm sliding into my assessment of Obscura's Akroasis sideways, and you would be right.  See, I bought both albums on the same day.  They shall be immutably adulterated in my mind together until I am without mind.  But it's okay.  I'm a professional, and I can focus on Akroasis in spite of spinning the liquid shit out of Condition Human (the Queensryche long player).  Yeah, I should have reviewed that one first.  I haven't really been in the mood for technical death metal in a couple of days.  Luckily, Akroasis is epic enough to transcend something as fitful and fickle (fickful?) as my given mood.

I've seen others say this, but it bears repeating.  It's improbable how good this album is, you dopes (sorry).  It's kind of stunning that it sounds like Obscura at all.  You have to factor in the copious line-up changes that have occurred since 2011's Omnivium.  Apparently, the former bassist despises frontman Steffen Kummerer, and so does former drummer Hannes Grossmann.  Former guitarist Christian Munzner exited the band for health reasons.  I don't know when the hell the music on Akroasis was written, but it does ferry the earmarks of natural evolution from where Obscura was five years ago.  Is this all Steffan's doing?  Eh, I find that hard to believe.  I also don't care.  Almost in defiance of downtime and tessellated personnel, Akroasis is a perfect fusion of every Obscura record up to this point.

Sebastian Lanser is a Lovecraftian beast on the kit.  That's a kewl way of saying "drums."  Jazzy fills, furious blasts, well-placed double bass...the guy is capable of playing whatever the song at hand needs.  Ditto for the axeslingers (bonus kewl points).  I'm madly in love with the leads on "Sermon of the Seven Suns."  They're goddamn articulate.  All of the guitar solos on Akroasis are driven by melodies that seem to know where to go to pull the most emotion out of the listener.  Riff-wise, you will not be left stranded.  These jams are just as heavy as they are tuneful.  Forensic evidence?  Check out "The Monist" and "Ode to the Sun."  They are aural collisions that will corroborate your devotion to metal in all caps.  That's a weird sentence, but you know what I mean.

Naysayers persecute technical death metal for its lack of real songwriting.  It's true; most bands of this ilk just pound away at their instruments with no regard for the almighty hook.  Obscura is a rare exception to the rule.  Each track has its own identity, especially the 15-minute "Weltseele."  It's a little on the saggy side (my attention tends to wander halfway through), but it's a stellar composition all the same.  Fuck, I didn't mention miracle bassist Linus Klausenitzer.  Man, he fills out the sound.  Where does Kummerer keep finding these fretless freaks?  Abbath says, "What Dom is trying to say is that the musicianship is the opposite of bad.  He's going to give Akroasis a perfect rating, and he wants you to enjoy your evening."

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