A Valediction (Nuclear Blast)
There are many ways to attempt extremity as a death metal band, some liable to risk a creative dead end. German quartet Obscura’s favoured route, mastering their instruments to a point of bombastic, almost neoclassical virtuosity, may have elevated them beyond the genre entirely. At any rate, their new label Nuclear Blast (who know their death metal), don’t refer to them as such in the press material for A Valediction, the sixth Obscura album.
The vocal style of Steffen Kummerer ensures these 10 songs are unlikely to stumble into a populist-crossover scenario, even when songs like When Stars Collide augment this with bouts of clean singing and relatively melodic soloing. Here and elsewhere, dazzlingly fast shred guitar and double-kick drumming can resemble a twin-turbo version of fellow Germans and labelmates Helloween as much as anything you’d dub death metal. Obscura can be so clinically capable as to obfuscate what emotion lies within these compositions, but A Valediction‘s speedruns are often exhilarating to listen to.
words NOEL GARDNER
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