Has it really been five years since the last Obscura album? Akroasis is the follow up to 2011's Omnivium, and Obscura's first album since the departure of Hannes Grossmann and Christian M├╝nzner of Necrophagist fame. Obscura gained a lot of notoriety with the addition of these two when they joined the band and recorded 2009's excellent Cosmogenisis. Although Grossman and Munzner are big shoes to fill, founder Stephen Kummerer has soldered on essentially reforming the band. Founder Stephen Kummerer still handles vocal and guitar duties, with him on Akroasis are, Tom Geldschl├Ąger on guitar, Linus Klausenitzer on bass, and Sebastian Lanser on drums.

It always makes me nerverous when long time members of a band leave. For me this can go one of two ways, either the band can recruit the first musicians who want the job, or they can recruit musicians who are just as talented as the ones who left and prove that the band is just as good with the new members. Luckily the latter is the case for Obscura on Akroasis.

This album blew me away from start to finish. The opening track, Sermon of the Seven Suns, starts off with a brief introduction in what I can on describe as a auto tuned robotic voice, and then goes right into an extremely technical and crushing riff. The technicality, crushing riffs, and excellent solo's are present throughout the album. There are even some synth parts thrown in for good measure The riffs are all varied and unique, no two songs on the album sound the same, and that's probably what I like most about the album, it's a very diverse album. Vocals on the album range from guttural grows, to that auto tuned robot voice I described earlier, to spoken word parts, and even choir parts. This may sound like too many different vocal styles but Kummerer makes it work, and no vocal style is over used or over stays its welcome.

The closing track Weltseele, combines all the diverse sound on this album into one 15 minute epic that even has an orchestral interlude at the half way point of the song. There's really nothing more to say about this album than check it out. It will be released on February 5th on Relapse Records.