REVIEW: OBSCURA – “Akróasis”
“Music is, of and in itself, not so significant for our inner world, nor so profoundly exciting, that it can be said to count as immediate language or feeling; but its primeval union with poetry has deposited so much symbolism into rhythmic movement, into the varying strength and volume of musical sounds, that we now suppose it to speak directly to the inner world and to come from the inner world. Dramatic music becomes possible only when tonal art has conquered an enormous domain of symbolic means, through song, opera and a hundred experiments in tone-painting.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All-Too Human
Leave it to Nietzche to wonderfully capture the essence of music and this case, the essence of Obscura’s newest album ‘Akróasis’. Perhaps a lot of uncertainty loomed over the band with the departure of guitarist Christian Münzner and drummer Hannes Grossmann back in 2014. This coincided when the time was ripe for a new album from the band and along came guitar virtuoso Tom ‘Fountainhead’ Geldschläger on guitars and jazz-fusion drummer Sebastian Lanser for album duties. From here on the excitement was about being unable to fully comprehend what the new album would sound like because anyone could be certain that it would not sound entirely like ‘Cosmogenesis’ or ‘Omnivium’ either. It is safe to say that the album maintains its signature and catchy sound courtesy founding member Steffen Kummerer’s song writing. This signature takes a bold new avatar with the involvement of Linus Klusenitzer on bass along with the new musicians on board creating Akróasis.
Coming down to the songs, the songs“Sermon of the Seven Suns” and the title track “Akróasis” sounds like the classical Obscura with slightly new flavours. The work on the melodic solo by Fountainhead is dedicated to Christian Münzner. “Ode to the Sun” is one of the highlights on the album for the amazing work on the instruments. This song is a treat for the ears as this features an orchestral percussion arrangement by Sebastian Lanser and a choir consisting of Maria Bullok, Monika Bullok and Steffen Kummerer himself. As one progresses with the album, the fretless guitar work by Fountanhead is sure to slide around all the right chords with everyone and it gets better and better! All across the album, the work on the leads are skilful and sound very unconventional. Never did Obscura sound too conventional in the first place, but this takes it to another level and this is clearly heard in songs such as “Perpetual Infinity”, “Fractal Dimension” and “Ten Sepiroth”. Akróasis ends with perhaps one of the greatest compositions in metal and neoclassical arrangements- “Weltseelse”. This epic 15 minute track is an artful balance between unconventionality, metal, classical sections and musicality itself. “Weltseele” is suggestive of Fountainhead’s signature style that nobody could miss out on. Steffen’s strong and impressive work on the vocals give a deep and dark hue to the song. “Weltseele” also features fluid acoustic sections and a string ensemble consisting of Matthias Preisinger on violin and viola, Jupp Wenger on cello and Phillip Rohmer on double bass. The more one listens to this epic track, the more they discover. The influence of the great band Noneucid rings out in this storm of a song.
‘Akróasis’ is a path breaking album. Obscura have done it again and they are poised to become trendsetters in their own ways. The album captures the end of all that is alive and aware. The transition from the aggressive ‘Omnivium’ sound to the meditative ‘Akróasis’ sound is beautifully arranged. Going with the philosophical approach that the band invokes, ‘Akróasis’nets the shift from evolution and enlightenment of life to its end wonderfully. V. Santura’s masterful production does justice to every aspect of the potential of the composition on this album. ‘Akróasis’ is a result of masterclass musicians coming together with the intention of artful creation. The bass work is unlike what was on the previous records with LinusKlusenitzer’s involvement with song writing, his warm bass tone and artful melodies. The musicianship displayed by Sebastian Lanser and Fountainhead is inspirational and will be influential in the future. Steffen Kummerer’s vocals, catchy song writing and the lyrical themes continue to be trademarks of the band’s sound. ‘Akróasis’ is astonishing and will be an example of what great potential can achieve.