There's a whole lotta news surrounding Obscura of late. First thing's first… Both drummer Hannes Grossmann and guitarist Christian Muenzner have left the band. You can read over their initial statements just below.
Christian Muenzner comments, "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, it is something I have been contemplating for the last couple of years. There is no bad blood between me and any of the other members of the band. However, I just want to devote the biggest part of the time that I have to work on my own music and visions. Doing this, I just can't invest the bulk of my time into the band, because a band operating at the level of Obscura does not work as a an additional thing or even a 'hobby'. It demands a lot of time and availability, but I I know that if my heart is not fully into the music anymore it is not true to myself, my bandmates or to the fans, and I have always believed that solely the fact that a band is successful or that people expect you to play a certain style of music are not enough of a reason to do it.
"A second crucial factor in my decision was that 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. The slightest chance of recovery or at least further improvement have absolute priority for me in the coming years, as I want to be able to play guitar and release music for much longer. Thus I decided to focus mainly on my teaching career and on writing and recording my own music for now. I will remain very active and you will hear a lot of new music from me in the future.
"I still consider all past and present members in Obscura that I played with among my very best friends, and the album recordings and tours we did in the last 6 years are among the greatest memories of my life so far. The band took me all around the world several times and I got to meet thousands of great people and fans. I want to thank all of you for your support, even in the tough times when my condition was at its worst. I do not exclude the possibility of future collaborations with each of the other members and wish the band the best of luck for the future."
Hannes Grossmann comments, "Leaving the band was a difficult choice to make, but it was also a big relief. 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 this was causing problems, because the band was set up as a collective of songwriters, and so the new record should have been a collective work. In general I also prefer working with other people rather than just doing it on my own. 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 Comogenesis album. But I wanted to explore a way different side of Obscura. The catchy 'Anticosmic Overload'-side just doesn't really hook me emotionally. In the end it's hard to explain to an outsider, but our musical taste and vision for the band's future are just incompatible at this point. It even started to affect our personal relationship and I don't think that it's worth sacrificing our friendship for personal issues. That's why I decided to quit the band and record the songs I wrote with my new band ALKALOID."
As mentioned, in leaving the band they've created a new one called Alkaloid. Yet again, you can read over the official press release for this announcement just below.
After his departure from German tech death band Obscura, Hannes Grossmann (also known for his work with Blotted Science and Necrophagist) joins forces with his former bandmates in a new band called Alkaloid. Besides Hannes Grossmann, the band features prominent members Christian Muenzner (ex-Obscura, ex-Necrophagist, Spawn of Possession) and Danny Tunker (Aborted, ex-God Dethroned) on guitars and Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Noneuclid) on bass. The band's frontman is classical composer Florian Magnus Maier aka Morean on vocals and guitars, who is known for his orchestral collaboration with Devin Townsend, Paradise Lost and his work with Dark Fortress and Noneuclid.
Drummer Hannes Grossmann comments:
"As sad as things have turned out with Obscura, I'm really happy that the songs Christian Muenzner and I had initially written for their next record will find a new home in Alkaloid. However, I don't see Alkaloid as a "tech-death" band, because we just aren't. The music is definitely prog, but in terms of dynamics, song structures, harmonics and rhythms, it's just too diverse to be put into a small sub-genre.
The band was brought to life in 2012 by myself and Florian Magnus Maier, who is by far the best composer I ever worked with. His band Noneuclid had a big impact on the last Obscura record 'Omnivium', on which I contributed the vast majority of the music and arranged all the songs. Generally this is the sort of music we would like to continue with Alkaloid, but make it sound more colorful, more vibrant and way catchier. I'm also happy to have some of my dearest friends on board, such as Christian Muenzner – we make music together for more than 10 years- and Linus Klausenitzer, who is one of my favorite bass players and did a great job on my solo record "The Radial Covenant". Last but not least, we have Danny Tunker as third guitar player, who is just one of the best players I've ever seen. Once we toured with him – he was playing for Spawn Of Possession – I saw him learning two Obscura songs in about an hour, playing them flawless. Never seen a talent like him before."
Turns out Alkaloid are currently recording their debut release which is expected for release sometime next year! In the meantime, you can listen to some of Obscura's / Grossmann's finest below!