True horror lies not in what we perceive, be that killers, thrillers, or disposable anime episodes deemed "fillers," but in what’s beyond our perception. For some, that means the shapes that bump around in the dark, withholding their true form. For the Italian death metal band Obscura Qalma, that fear is what surpasses human knowledge. They push the limits of what humanity accepts as true on their debut album Apotheosis, which is streaming in full below, ahead of its November 12th release.

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Obscura Qalma describe their music as orchestrated death metal, which of course refers to the audio qualities (i.e. the literal symphony elements) but is more applicable to their vision's tightness. This is meticulous death metal that is acutely aware of all its moving parts. The aforementioned symphonic elements make their boldest case in the introductory track "Demise of the Sun," but afterward it's their fastidious window dressing that escalates the Apotheosis' existential quandaries. The orchestrated backing vocals and the film score nodes are subtle. They’re meant to be noticed, but they, like every other instrument the group commands, serve the whole. They don’t heighten the drama by themselves. If Obscura Qalma weren’t so assured in their delivery they may actually falter, but the group is nothing if not certain.

That being said, Obscura Qalma still hammer for attention with an existential crisis’ severity.
Their wall of sound production is a meaty platter balancing voluminous riffage, hearty growls, and a trembling rhythm section. The moments they step away from pummeling and into more conventional rock showmanship, like the guitar solos darting through "Gemini," are emboldened by the symphonic layers. These instances add levity before Obscura Qalma plunge even deeper into riff-replete abysses.

Because of this compositional philosophy, the album isn’t a freewheeling dive into chaos as much as it is a considered study. Obscura Qalma list Nietzsche and Freud among the album’s influences, and while that inquisitiveness isn’t overt, there is an undercurrent of challenging structures. It’s not so much a revolt as it is an open question regarding the foundations of human intelligence.

Apotheosis also draws from horror film soundtracks (because this is still a metal album), but in a measured manner. Picture not "Psycho'"s primal strings, but unfurling tides that hint at a greater terror without blowing their load on jump scares. It places weight on the questioning of being instead of cheap terror, much like how Apotheosis focuses on
the why’s instead of the what’s.

The band comments:

From the nihilistic foundations of European culture and epistemological solipsism to astrophysics and psychoanalysis, Apotheosis dwells on the limits of human knowledge and the impassable boundaries of its own existence.

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Apotheosis releases November 12 via Rising Nemesis Records.