Obscura – Akróasis (Relapse)

Genre: Death Metal

Technical, proggy death metal may have germinated under Florida’s sunshine, but European acts like Spawn of Possession, Necrophagist and Obscura have helped to propel the style into the 21st century – and they’ve done so with aplomb.

Akróasis is another fine addition to the tech death canon, a multi-dimensional masterclass in contorted rhythms, dexterous basswork and sublime soloing, and one that rarely feels pretentious or so dense that you’ll lose patience with it.

There are riffs here that you can chew on, hooks which sink in fast, and a malevolent Morbid Angel-esque undercurrent lurking beneath all that Cynic and Atheist worship (check out The Monist as exhibit A).

The German quartet’s fourth album also shows just how much talent they have at their fingertips. On Ten Sepiroth, they’re almost trying to out-play each other as the track mutates and evolves around them, while on opener Sermon of the Seven Sons, they unleash a fearsome assault before deftly taking the pace down and giving their dazzling leads space to soar.

Akróasis pushes the boundaries of what death metal can achieve, while also providing a vivid, luscious listening experience. Good luck to any budding guitarists who try to transcribe it though…

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Obliterating