Obscura
A Valediction


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
November 23rd, 2021 | 53 replies


Release Date: 11/19/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A tasty start to a new cycle

If someone were to ask me which technical death metal band has been the most relevant and influential over the past twenty years, the German quartet Obscura would surely be among my top choices, alongside Necrophagist, Gorod, Archspire, and a couple of other tech researchers with notable contributions to the cause. While there's obviously no consensus on who should take the pole position, it seems undeniable that Steffen Kummerer and his compadres have done enough to be considered in the equation. Cosmogenesis, Omnivium, and the triumphant comeback album, Akróasis, are not only among the genre's best releases of recent years but have also served as inspiration for countless bands who, like Steffen, have chosen to follow in the footsteps of neoclassical wizard Muhammed Suiçmez.

When word got out that Christian Münzner and Jeroen Paul Thesseling would be coming back on board, a wave of enthusiasm spread fast among fans of the German shredders who saw it as an opportunity for the band to recapture the look and feel of their early releases. Although Akróasis has proven that Steffen can deliver high-quality material with another crew, the line-up of Cosmogenesis and Omnivium has always been seen as the band's classic squad. And while there's an important piece of the puzzle still missing (aka Hannes Grossmann), the fact that the aforementioned duo is back home is already cause for celebration. A Valediction is thus the beginning of a new cycle, both by reuniting the old gang and for being the opening chapter of a new trilogy of albums for the band.

This sense of celebration is felt throughout A Valediction. Its organic nature exudes an aura of enjoyment that mirrors a quartet loose from the genre's conservative chains, unafraid to explore more melodic territory. 'When Stars Collide', with its clean chorus (courtesy of Björn "Speed" Strid) and power metal segments, is the most visible face of this new approach, even being the most melodic song the band has ever recorded. The orthodox Morbid Angel-esque 'Devoured Usurper' or the Megadeth-ish section in the instrumental 'Orbital Elements II' are other examples that echo the album's broader spectrum. These somewhat unpredictable nuances are thus the most relevant aspect of A Valediction, together with the neoclassical layers brought by Christian Münzner's leads which lend the album an aesthetic that is both attractive and majestic. While neoclassical scales are by no means new to Obscura, they have never been so ubiquitous. The leads in 'Solaris' and 'The Neuromancer', or the bridge of 'When Stars Collide', are among its finest manifestations.

Despite its organic flow, which lends it greater musical breadth, A Valediction does not abdicate its technical foundations, in fact it blossoms from it, as if it intended to peek over the fence while keeping its feet on familiar ground. 'Forsaken's' super catchy chorus, or the melodic Kalmah-esque 'In Adversity', mirror this balance rather well, being halfway between Obscura's tech roots and a more mainstream path. This looser approach results not only from Steffen's musical direction but also from the team's strong chemistry, which has managed to effectively implement this broader formula without detracting from the band's character. The interplay between Jeroen Paul Thesseling's fretless dynamics and Steffen's riffs are among the highlights of this collective cohesion.

Contrary to its literal meaning, A Valediction is not a last goodbye, but a new beginning; the first glimpse of a trilogy that promises to re-energize one of technical death metal's most iconic brands. By welcoming more melodic and orthodox flavors, the German shredders have not only diversified their formula but also made it tastier. Because sometimes, my friends, you don't have to reinvent the wheel to bring a fresh breeze into your home.




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user ratings (82)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The band's most catchy album to date. Great jam

A Valediction is available on all streaming platforms.

Digging: Obscura - A Valediction

rodrigo90
November 23rd 2021


7096 Comments


I'm surprised that Obscura didn't fill the void that Opeth left when they stopped making tech death.

Mythodea
November 23rd 2021


6888 Comments


Opeth never played ''tech death'', it's ''death prog'' Silly labels, but the sound is indeed different between the two

Digging: Circuit Des Yeux - -io

TheSpirit
November 23rd 2021


28745 Comments


ah yes my favorite tech death band, opeth

Digging: Addaura - A) siren city (Z

Zakusz
November 23rd 2021


203 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I feel like I've heard everything this album had to offer before from fifty different albums by fifty different bands...

Zakusz
November 23rd 2021


203 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Also the guy who made the list of album artworks that look like buttholes can put this on his list too.

Mythodea
November 23rd 2021


6888 Comments


this is by far their best artwork, followed by Akroasis. The rest are too synthetic and digital, they look cheap

IsolatedSymmetry
November 23rd 2021


43 Comments


Diluvium was one of my favs of 2018, looking forward to this.

bloc
November 23rd 2021


67076 Comments


Only heard the album once, but I would say this is their 3rd best for now. I still prefer Akro and Cosmo.

Digging: PinkPantheress - To Hell With It

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Those two are up there, no doubt

MikeyPalmice
November 23rd 2021


90 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Christian is on fire on this album, great leads. Also the bass is not as prominent as it used to be.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Interesting you say that, I quite like Jeroen Paul Thesseling's bass lines

WretchedCacophony
November 23rd 2021


2187 Comments


Valedictorian?? Are these guys nerds or what

brainmelter
November 23rd 2021


7647 Comments


haven’t listened to these guys since omnivium, will czech

Digging: Flaming Ouroboros - Uphold the Majesty

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

This is such a huge step up from the last one. There’s a lot of flow, progression sounds so goddamn organic.

Digging: Obscura - A Valediction

bloc
November 23rd 2021


67076 Comments


"haven’t listened to these guys since omnivium, will czech"

You'll be happy to know there ain't no giant sperm on the album cover

brainmelter
November 23rd 2021


7647 Comments


now there’s a grown man being birthed from a gaping, flaming, butthole. even better

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album has a nice organic flow indeed

Nomos2
November 23rd 2021


929 Comments


Maaaan I'm excited to check this one out when I can give it the respectful listen it deserves.

Cosmogenesis is the album that introduced me to tech death, and was among the first true Sputnik finds that I fell in love with (next to Traced in Air), and it certainly informed my musical taste that led me where I am today.

I can't say the following three albums hooked me quite as much, so the early praise I'm hearing about this one has got me very excited.

Good review too.

Digging: Black Mastiff - Pyramids

Aluktodolo
November 23rd 2021


145 Comments


I agree, Mythodea. This art work is a big step up in quality.



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