This is definitely one of the best new releases I’ve come across in a good, long time. Obscura seemlessly melds technical death metal with more of a progressive element on this incredible album. There are a lot of harmonized guitar lines, blast beats, and death growls, but there also slower tempo moments that display a wider range of musicality and dynamism. There are some clean vocals, too, but they are definitely not operatic like Hammerfall or Blind Guardian. I think, actually, the vocalist is probably not the best singer, so the clean interludes don’t offer anything mind-blowing in a melodic sense. Nonetheless, the clean vocals fit nicely into the mix.
By the far the most impressive element of this band and this album is the bassist. All too often the bass is but an afterthought in extreme music, melding inconspicuously into the background. Obscura, however, bring the bass right back to the main stage, a la Iron Maiden and Sadus. The bassist plays a 6-string fretless bass, and it is definitely an integral piece of Obscura’s sound. The bass lines, fills, and (yes!) solos add so much to their music, and I think set them apart from a lot of mediocre bands.
This album is a must-listen for anyone who appreciates technical death metal, particurly the European bands, like Necrophagist and Pestilence. But I would also challenge those of you just discovering heavier music to check it out, too. Fans of God Forbid, Lamb of God, In Flames, Arch Enemy, and the like should be able to find something you’ll like here.