It has taken them nearly a decade, but Germany's progressive death metal titans Obscura have completed their epic four-album conceptual circle with 2018's Diluvium.
The band is set to release the crushing crescendo to the lofty project on July 13th through Relapse Records, with a lengthy and long-overdue North American tour – their first since a 2015 Visa snafu left the band near destitute – scheduled for this fall with Beyond Creation, Archspire, Inferi and Exist.
"It just took 10 years to finish a four album concept for these records," says frontman Steffen Kummerer. "It’s definitely a big one for us. It’s relieving and also feels good at the same time that we finished what we started. I’m just proud of the record, is what I can say."
The culmination of a wide arch that began with 2009's Cosmogenesis, Diluvium signals in, basically, the end of days – the closing in a chapter of the band that has thematically drawn from philosophy, religion and astrophysics. Not exactly your stereotypical death metal playbook.
"This is basically the ultimate end of all ends," says Kummerer. "It is the ultimate apocalypse where everything ends before the start of the world getting a rebirth.
"They all merge into what we’re doing in Obscura," adds Kummerer, who has a degree in master of engineering in media technology. "It simply represents all the interests I have. The main interests are three – astrophysics, religion and philosophy. This is why I’m writing about this and it’s more representing what I personally enjoy. I think that’s more honest than having fantasy lyrics about ripping off heads of zombies."
Obscura's return to North America has been long overdue, to say the least. The last time they attempted a large scale North American trek was the Summer Slaughter tour in 2015. Forced to pull out of the tour on the 11th hour, Kummerer shared that the hurdle nearly crippled the band beyond repair.
"That’s one of the more sad stories we have as a band," he begins. "Basically, it made the band broke, completely – bankrupt to be honest. It was so bad, we didn’t get our Visas in time. There are so many bands not from the United States trying to play there that gets those kind of Visas, and the procedure takes forever. You’re always more or less gambling to get the Visas in time or not. The problem is that when you don’t get them in time for whatever reason they have on their side for the administration, you lose everything. That’s exactly the case we had in 2015.
"We had all our back-line, all our gear, either rented or flown over. We had a truck full of merchandise, a full crew session members, all flights paid. Two days before we have to let down the whole crew, all the other bands and the promoters and the bands playing with you. This was a nightmare. In death metal or metal overall, money is very tight and small all of the time. If you lose basically everything you’ve built up over 10 years because somebody is not giving you entrance, it really hurts. This was very close to breakup for the band, but we kept it going. This was a very dark year, definitely."
Rejuvenated creatively and hungry to shred for North American audiences, Obscura aren't fucking around with Diluvium. It's big, bold and demands attention. Debuting single "Emergent Evolution" is mind-numbing good, and some solid foreshadowing of what's to come.
"We try to push ourselves, not only with recording or writing music but also from the production side," Kummerer says. "I think each record turned out to be better sounding than the previous one. The same goes for live performances, live shows and stage production. We always try to grow on every level. We grow slowly. We are already 15-16 years old – the band, in mind we are still 15 years old. We’re not one of those hype bands who have one album or at worst, two singles out there and nobody cares about them afterwards. We are growing slowly but we are growing with every record."
Dates for Obscura's North American tour will be revealed in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the band's official site and Metal Injection for more.