There was a lot of buzz about the Relapse debut of Germany’s tech death band Obscura, especially since being joined by Necrophagist members Christian Muenzner (guitars), Hannes Grossman (Drums) and Pestilence bassist (for Spheres) Jeroen Paul Thesseling. Now I’ve had about a month to let the album, sink in, I can confidently say the hype was worth it.

While the bands moniker may lead you to think this is tech death worship of the Gorguts album namesake, truth be told, the band’s more fitting name should be ‘Unquestionable Presence of Symbolic Human Focus Diminishing Between Worlds’.


Technical, but craftily melodic and intelligent with a sci fi/cosmic layer, Cosmogenesis will arguably be the year’s most lauded technical death metal album with a heritage and tone that harkens back to classic Schuldiner/Shaefer/Choy days of yore, but with a modern and obviously decipherable influence from Necrophagist and Decrepit Birth. As with Decrepit Birth, Obscura have the rare ability to craft vastly complex songs, but somehow make them memorable and melodic. The balance is finite, far more so than Necrophagist’ uber complex but forgetful assault, and is held together by Muenzner’s solos as well as Thessling’s 6 string twangy bass work which is often the glue which binds the material together with hypnotic and often jaw dropping ease.

Laden with sweeps and arpeggios amid the percussive flurries and cosmic bass work, the album spirals into intricate brilliance from the get go with opener “Anticosmic Overload” and never lets up. Only instrumental “Orbital Elements” offers sort of respite, but its still a more relaxing dazzling display of musical dexterity just without the jarring attack of say, the following “Desolate Spheres” or kaleidoscopic “Cosmogenesis”. The vocals of Steffen Kummerer are a standard growl with the occasional Cynic like vocoding (“Noospheres”), and they are admittedly the weakest element of the album, but they don’t detract from the musicianship, and ultimately “Nooshperes” ends up being one of the my favorite tracks regardless of the vocals.

The 7 ½ minute “Centric Flow”, after a vortex of shimmering blasts and solos, closes the album with a appropriately paced let down period, allowing the listeners brain to settle down and come to terms with the brilliance they just heard and realize they have only just begin to fully comprehend an album that will be many peoples pick for 2009s top album. And I just might be one of them

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 6th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    Awesome album. On my list.

  2. Commented by: Staylow

    Unquestionable Presence of Symbolic Human Focus Diminishing Between Worlds’. – Almost exactly how I’d describe it. Great review Erik.

    This album rules my fucking face!

  3. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    I think the use of vocoder is a highlight on this album, along with the incredible bass work. Both are used tastefully and intelligently.

    Definitely my AOTY so far, and in lieu of a new album from Cynic, Atheist, or Spiral Architect this year, it will be nearly impossible to knock it from this spot.

  4. Commented by: Ryan

    Definitely worth every once of hype. Phenomenal release. I liked Decrepit Birth’s last album ALOT, but this is definitely one of the best tech death releases in a long time. Blows bands like Necrophagist and Odius Mortem out of the fucking water. There are actual real songs to be heard here, not just a bunch of crazy parts. I can only imagine what this band will have in store next time around.

  5. Commented by: stiffy0000

    The bass is just retardedly good.

  6. Commented by: ceno

    This album is phenomenal!!! I should also check out their debut Retribution.

  7. Commented by: Vance

    I think this album is great…. that’s all I got.

  8. Commented by: axiom

    Superb album!! Technicality with emotion and great writing. Wow. Sounds like a fretless bass to me.

  9. Commented by: Cynicgods

    16, Blut Aus Nord, Samael, Obscura. Man, this year’s starting off really well…

    Great review, Erik. ‘Unquestionable Presence of Symbolic Human Focus Diminishing Between Worlds’. Best description I’ve read, by far.

  10. Commented by: swampthang


  11. Commented by: Joe

    Great album but kinda gets old after a while. I’m returning to the new Napalm Death more often. Gotta say though I could barely listen to that Decrepit Birth album because it was too noodly and forgettable: the guy plays a lead over almost every riff! Necrophagist is way more catchy.

  12. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Finally got this – best tech death I have heard since Gorod’s last one

  13. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I have been revisiting, Gorod’s Leading Vision, and it and this seem very similar

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