Germany-based metal band OBSCURA launch trilogy concept on stunning new album “A  Valediction”. The group’s first (sixth overall) album for Nuclear Blast pivots on many fronts.  Advanced, elegant, and yet refreshing, “A Valediction” sums up past endeavors effortlessly  as it gazes with purpose and conviction into the future. OBSCURA are fan-renowned and  critically acclaimed for challenging and then expanding upon norms. From “Cosmogenesis” (2009) through “Diluvium” (2018), the band flourished and made significant progress in a  musical genre unprepared for a creative shot of German invention. “A Valediction” spearheads OBSCURA into a new era of extreme metal. 

Guitarist/vocalist Steffen Kummerer founded OBSCURA in 2002. Early on, he set out to  improve, redefine, and push forward. Under his self-label creation, the Bavarian released  debut album “Retribution” (2006), followed by heavy touring throughout Europe. Word  quickly spread that a brand-new band from the south of Germany was on the rise. Buzz lead  to a deal with U.S.-based Relapse Records. The first record out was “Cosmogenesis”. In  Europe, Metal Hammer Germany awarded the album 6/7 while in the U.S., “Cosmogenesis” hit the Billboard charts at #71. The cross-continental praise and fevered momentum landed  OBSCURA on high-profile tours in Europe, North America, and Japan.  

When follow-up “Omnivium” arrived in 2011, they upped their chart success (Billboard #11;  Media Control #14), received more accolades from publications like Terrorizer, Rock Hard,  and Decibel, had another massive round-world tour cycle, while enhancing and making  progress on their clever brutality. OBSCURA further developed their sound on “Akróasis(2016). Moored by jaw-dropping tracks like ‘Sermon of the Seven Suns,’ ‘Ode to the Sun,’ and  the title track, “Akróasis” elevated OBSCURA to the highest levels of international renown,  having climbed up the Billboard charts (#5) as well as earning top marks in Rock Hard  (8.5/10), Metal Hammer Germany (6/7), and Revolver (4/5). The Germans toured the world  yet again, playing over 100 shows in support of “Akróasis”.  

OBSCURA’s most significant accomplishment was, however, just around the corner. The final  part of a tetralogy, “Diluvium” (2018), fiercely pursued OBSCURA’s multi-album  transformation into musical innovators and metal powerhouses. Music videos for the title  track, ‘Emergent Evolution’ and ‘Mortification of the Vulgar Sun,’ in concert with a  substantial interest in virtuosic, forward-thinking metal, posited OBSCURA in the good  graces (yet again) of the worldwide press in addition to rocketing up, for the very first time,  the official album charts in Germany (#58) and Switzerland (#93). The Germans also topped  out at #3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart with “Diluvium”. 

OBSCURA‘s stats have been impressive: Twenty years active; six highly prized albums; over  600 shows on four continents. Worldwide fan and press engagement—the videos for ‘The  Anticosmic Overload,’ Akróasis,’ and ‘Diluvium’ have over 4.5 million views—is only getting  stronger the longer OBSCURA continue to offer up and interact with (via play-throughs and  member/gear spotlights) their very captive audience. This is only the tip of Kummerer’s  custom ESP guitar, however. A Valediction finds OBSCURA turning the page to a new chapter  in the band’s evolution. A year in the works, the songwriting sessions followed a new  approach, where the framework was relaxed, allowing new inspirations, imagining, and  opportunities to arise. Songs like the opening epic ‘Forsaken,’ the ’80s-tinted ‘When Stars  Collide’ (featuring Soilwork/The Night Flight Orchestra frontman Björn Strid), the brutal  groove of ‘Devoured Usurper,’ the ethereal artistry of ‘Heritage,’ and the fleet-fingered title  track benefitted compositionally (refined structures) and aesthetically (more dynamism)  from OBSCURA’s restyled songwriting stratagem. 

OBSCURA wrote, recorded, and finalized “A Valediction” during the pandemic. The  stipulations of working during this time allowed OBSCURA to work cross-country, tracking  each respective part—drums, guitar, and bass—in national studios across The Netherlands,  Austria, and Germany. Once the pieces were completed, the recordings were shipped off to  award-winning producer Fredrik Nordström and Studio Fredman (In Flames, Architects) in  Gothenburg, Sweden, where Kummerer and Münzner completed vocals and acoustic guitars  using custom-built ENGL amps. Nordström was also tapped to mix and master. The final  result is a deeper, heavier, yet more rounded production. 

Lyrically, “A Valediction” is layered in structure and meaning. The word ‘valediction,’ by  definition, deals with goodbyes and farewells. In a way, this is auf wiedersehen to the four part album series while also addressing complex topics of Kummerer’s personal life. Instead  of obscuring issues of loss, death, and abandonment in metaphor and allusion, the German laid bare his torment across songs like ‘Forsaken,’ ‘Solaris,’ ‘In Unity,’ ‘The Neuromancer,’ and ‘In Adversity.’ But for every line of desperation, he also offers positivity. Indeed, new beginnings—physical, emotional, or environmental—can provide light in the darkness.  Lauded artist Eliran Kantor (Testament, Helloween) was brought on board to visualize the  leitmotif. The bronze-themed colourway Kantor used exemplifies OBSCURA’s resistance to  individual and sonic corrosion. 

In 2021, OBSCURA will lighthouse their musical prowess, thematic complexity, and lyrical  ambition on “A Valediction”. The group continue to be a beacon for change. No doubt  OBSCURA’s new stats will amaze, but what they’re focused on is the release of “A  Valediction” and then taking it on the road. Several high-caliber tours of Europe, North  America, and Asia are planned through to 2023, with routes are in the works for the band to  visit Australia, South America, and beyond. Truly, there is no band quite like OBSCURA. “A  Valediction” proves that persistence, perseverance, and enterprising minds can achieve  anything. Welcome to the next level!

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