The instrumental rock duo Luay Rifai and Tammam Hamza, Obskura is arguably one of the most unique and impressive projects we’ve encountered in the last few years. Together, Luay and Tammam have been hard at work on their debut EP, reimagining the iconic classical composition ‘Scheherazade’ as a progressive rock epic.
Released in September of last year, Obskura’s ‘Scheherazade’ is a monumental undertaking, delivering thirty-five minutes of bold, expansive instrumental pieces that are poignantly inspired by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov’s original symphonic suite. While originally written for a full symphony, Obskura’s version is a titanic rock adventure, divided into six parts that span the entire album.
A project that has taken two years to transcribe, arrange, and release, Obskura’s ‘Scheherazade’ is a visceral blend talent and inspiration, lashing out with a fierce instrumental sound that is bound together by searing metal sounds, percussive synth arpeggios, and classical melodies played at breakneck speeds.
Opening with ‘The Homicidal King’, Luay and Tammam unleash a relentless stream of heavy metal expressionism, diving head first into complex melodies and thunderous percussion that are undercut by the original classical composition. It’s a powerful introduction to the album, glistening with sharp melodic crunches and layers of impressive guitarwork. On following tracks ‘Soul Thirst for Voyage’ and ‘Zummurrud of Samarkand’, the duo continue to build their musical world, touching on new territories through flourishing Middle Eastern melodies and dark, emotive tones.
As the second half of the album arrives, Luay and Tammam shift to a more subtle acoustic sound, with cascading guitar chords and glistening synth arpeggios creating a wonderfully immersive sound. An evolving and wonderfully engaging piece, ‘Adagio: The Young Prince and Princess’ steadily builds into a transformative power ballad, one that stitches together heavy metal sounds with passionate, melodic underpinnings. In the closing two chapters of ‘Shipwreck on a Rock’ and ‘Promises At Dawn’, the band perfect their heavy blend of low, rolling grooves and massive metal overlays.
A brilliant metal odyssey that shines through modern ingenuity and classical compositions from yesteryear, Obskura’s ‘Scheherazade’ is a perfect blending of two worlds, creating an ensnaring journey that will have the world enraptured. You can stream ‘Scheherazade’ now on Spotify.
When not creating music in Obskura, Luay Rifai is a cardiologist based in Chicago, Illinois. Inspired by metal masters like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, Luay delivers virtuosic rock riffs and classical melodies at breakneck speeds. Tammam Hamza meanwhile is a cinematographer in Canada who first proposed the ‘Scheherazade’ idea to Luay. Together, they spent the better part of two years bringing the album to life, painstakingly composing the tracks and laying down the instruments.
As a debut, you couldn’t ask for more than ‘Scheherazade’. A massive release that has the power to create a whole new theme within the world of modern metal, ‘Scheherazade’ is a release that both Luay and Tammam should be incredibly proud of. For more from the band, and to keep up to date with upcoming releases, be sure to follow Luay online.
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