Obscura (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Obscura
ObscuraBand2012.jpg
Background information
Origin Munich, Germany
Genres Death metal (Early)
Progressive metal
Technical death metal[1]
Years active 2002–present
Labels Relapse Records
Voice of the Soul Records
Associated acts Necrophagist
Death
Website http://www.realmofobscura.com/
Members Steffen Kummerer
Linus Klausenitzer
Fountainhead
Sebastian Lanser
Past members see below

Obscura is a technical death metal band from Munich, Germany that incorporates death metal with elements of neoclassical, fusion and progressive metal styles.

The band gained notoriety in heavy metal when members of Necrophagist and Pestilence joined Steffen Kummerer to release the critically acclaimed second full length album, Cosmogenesis. Within the Death Metal scene, Obscura are known for playing highly sophisticated music, with several band members having studied theory. They are considered pioneers of progressive death metal,[2] taking strong inspiration from Jason Becker, Cynic and Death, as well as classical composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach. The name of the group comes from the album Obscura by Canadian death metal band Gorguts.

Obscura's discography draws significant philosophical influences from Arthur Schopenhauer,[3] Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schelling, whose writings on Naturphilosophie formed the conceptual basis for their lyrics.[4]

History[edit]

Retribution[edit]

Obscura was founded in 2002 by Steffen Kummerer. The band was named after the Gorguts album Obscura.[5] In 2006 Obscura self-released their debut album Retribution and toured alongside Suffocation within Europe. Supporting Retribution, a European headlining tour through East and South Europe followed in 2007. Later that year, drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist), fretless bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling and guitarist Christian Muenzner (ex-Necrophagist) were added as new permanent members.[6]

Cosmogenesis[edit]

Founder and frontman Steffen Kummerer with his 7 string signature Ran guitar

In September 2008 Obscura signed with Relapse Records [7] and released its second full-length album Cosmogenesis in early 2009. The album sold around 900 copies in the USA in its first week and debuted at number 71 on the Top New Artist Albums chart.[8] The band started their first-ever North American tour as part of the 'Cosmogenesis Worldtour' in April 2009 alongside Cannibal Corpse. Within one year the band played more than 160 shows all over the world as support for Atheist, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse besides their first headliner tour in the USA. Obscura got the chance to tour Japan as support of Nile & Triptykon in 2010. On February 16, 2010 Obscura reissued their debut album Retribution remastered and repackaged with three bonus tracks. Obscura's official guitar tablature book for the band's latest album,Cosmogenesis, was released on January 5. The 145-page book contains the full tablature for all rhythm and lead guitar tracks on the LP, expanded album artwork, track-by-track commentary and an introduction from the band. Cosmogenesis has made it into the 100 most important Death Metal albums of all time [9]

The record is also Obscuras first notable venture into neoclassical music, a notable example being the baroque interlude in the song "Universe Momentum".

Omnivium[edit]

Obscura performing live in the Netherlands with new bassist Linus Klausenitzer

Obscura released the follow-up album to Cosmogenesis, entitled Omnivium, on March 29, 2011. The entire record was written over a period of two years, with members writing songs and sending them to each other over the internet. On a lyrical basis the album dealt with religion and the evolution of humankind, with frontman Steffen Kummerer, the bands main lyricist, taking significant influence from Friedrich Schelling's “On Nature's Connection to the Spirit World”[10] The album earned positive feedback around the world and entered US & German charts, selling 2,000 within the first week of release in the US alone.[11] Furthermore, it debuted at #11 on the USA's Top Heatseekers chart,[12] and at #14 on Germany's Media Control Newcomer chart.[13]

The artwork for the album follows a specific color scheme as part of an overarching, four album concept. Orion Landau, who also published the artwork for the last two albums, was responsible for developing Kummerers ideas for the cover art.[10]

Despite having played on the record, Obscura announced that Jeroen Paul Thesseling left the band due to scheduling conflicts between Obscura and Pestilence. Later, Thesseling cited both economic reasons and his age as being the motive for joining his former band, Pestilence, thusly making it impossible to tour and record with both bands simultaneously. In an interview, Thesseling stated: "That was a very hard decision for me...It was more like a financial pressure that made me decide to leave Obscura".[14]

Following the release of the album, Jeroen Paul Thesseling was replaced with Linus Klausenitzer of the progressive death metal band Noneuclid. Klausenitzer was officially presented as the new full-time member with a video statement from the band in September 2011.Obscura started the 'Omnivium Worldtour' in their home town Landshut, Germany followed by a full European tour alongside Hate Eternal, Beneath the Massacre & Defiled. They also played a five week major market tour supporting Children of Bodom & Devin Townsend within North America. On the 10th of August the band announced their first South East Asian headlining tour, performing first time ever in Thailand, Indonesia, Singaporef & United Arab Emirates. In November & December the same year a North American headlining tour followed and for March, April 2012 a successful headlining European run with support by Spawn of Possession, Gorod and Exivious got confirmed. Supporting their latest album Omnvium, the band played their first headlining tour in Japan alongside Beneath the Massacre in June 2012.

Illegimitation[edit]

Guitarist Christian Münzner left Necrophagist in 2006 before joining Obscura

In late 2011 Obscura started an online fund raising scheme which relies on support/donations from fans of the band for the release of a combination of their 1st demo, demos from the Cosmogenesis sessions and 3 cover songs from the bands Death, Atheist and Cynic. Within 60 days the band generated $14,600 in fan donations, exceeding their financial target by 486%; The band then released a statement indicating their contentment with the release;

"After the immense feedback for the re-release of our debut album 'Retribution' and 10,000 sold copies of that record, fans were asking for our early recordings and the material we wrote before hooking up with Relapse Records. Our very first record, 'Illegimitation' was tracked in 2003 with our long term producer V.Santura and shows the beginning of this band back in 2002 I am glad to show every fan that is interested in our roots where we come from and how things developed within the first ten years of Obscura. This is a release directly from the band and for our die-hard fans and friends."

In celebration of their tenth year as a band, the band played a special anniversary show on the 15th of December in Landshut, Germany with support from Dark Fortress, Hokum and Illegimitation; The show featured a reunion of the members who recorded their first demo, Illegimitation. This show will also mark the end of the Omnivium World tour before the band begins writing new material.

Departure of Grossmann and Muenzner[edit]

While writing the record for the fourth full length album, drummer Hannes Grossmann and guitarist Christian Muenzner released statements revealing they departed Obscura. Christian Muenzner cites his inability to tour as a result of his focal dystonia as a main reason for his departure:

"My decision to step down from my position as the lead guitar player in Obscura after more than 6 years was not an easy one, but even though it may come unexpected for the majority of fans...I am still dealing with a neurologic condition in my fretting hand called Focal Dystonia, which almost took the ability to play guitar away from me completely by late 2011/early 2012. Even though I regained most of my chops by now through re-training and Botox therapy, the condition is still there and I have to be very careful not to relapse and undo my progress by putting too much strain on my hand, which is why touring several months on an album cycle with material that brings me to the edge of my technical ability every night is not an option for me anymore in the near future".[15]

Grossmann's departure:

"In the last two years it just became more and more obvious that the musical chemistry between band founder Steffen and me just wasn’t right anymore. It’s not a personal issue, it’s a musical one. For the last two records I contributed a large amount of music, including most of the arrangement work...However, my musical vision was going into the direction of songs like ‘Aevum’ or ‘Septuagint’, maybe in terms of complexity even further. Steffen’s ideas are musically rather in the vein of the Cosmogenesis album. But I wanted to explore a way different side of Obscura. The catchy ‘Anticosmic Overload’-side just doesn’t really hook me emotionally. ”"[16]

After the departure of both Muenzner and Grossmann, Obscura hired fretless guitarist Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger and fusion drummer Sebastian Lanser of German jazz metal group Panzerballett on guitar and drums, respectively. [17]

Philosophy & Lyrics[edit]

Being the founding member of Obscura, Kummerer devises the bands lyricism and imagery himself. As a progressive/technical band, Obscura's lyrics focus mainly on the writings of famous German philosophers. In describing these lyrics, Kummerer states:

Cosmogenesis started with the beginning of our existence, the big bang theory if you want to say so, and deals with different layers and synonyms on a philosophical basis. The second, Omnivium, takes part of the evolution in many different layers such as the basic ape to human thought, religious topics, how the human individuals evolve within their existence and uses as basic theme the novel On Nature’s Connection to the Spirit World by Friedrich Schelling.

For their second release, Cosmogenesis, was their major delve into philosophy, which Kummerer describes as being influenced by the works of both Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Georg Trakl, with Omnivium showing a shift in interests, and being based solely on the work of German philosopher Friedrich Schelling.[4]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Steffen Kummerer – vocals, guitars (2002–present)
  • Linus Klausenitzer – bass (2011–present)
  • Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger – guitars (2014–present)
  • Sebastian Lanser – drums (2014–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Armin Seitz – guitars (2002–2004)
  • Martin Ketzer – bass, vocals (2002–2004)
  • Jonas Baumgartl – drums (2002–2007)
  • Stephan Bergbauer – guitars (2004)
  • Ernst "Azmo" Wurdak – bass (2004)
  • Jürgen Zintz – guitars (2004–2005)
  • Andreas "Hank" Nusko – bass (2004–2005)
  • Gerd Pleschgatternig – bass (2005)
  • Markus Lempsch – guitars (2005–2007)
  • Jonas Fischer – bass (2005–2007)
  • Johannes Rennig – guitars (2007)
  • Jeroen Paul Thesseling – bass (2007–2011)
  • Hannes Grossmann – drums (2007–2014)
  • Christian Muenzner – guitars (2008–2014)

Touring members[edit]

  • Seraph – drums (2007)
  • Jacob Schmidt – bass (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Steve DiGiorgio – bass (2010)
  • Linus Klausenitzer – bass (2011)

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio Albums[edit]

Compilations[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]