Australian band NE OBLIVISCARIS was officially formed in 2003, and became an active live band three years later. An initial EP appeared in 2007, and in 2012 their full length debut album “Portal of I” appeared. Since then a further two EPs and two more studio albums have appeared. “Urn” is the most recent of these, and is set for release in late October 2017 through French label Season of Mist.
Ne Obliviscaris does have something of a buzz around them, and the word is that they tend to deviate from most common norms in the metal environment that is their home. That they are innovative, creative and perhaps even non-conformist as a general rule. For me they do indeed come across as one of those bands that have tossed the book of rules into a nearby fire and chosen to go their very own way, for better as well as for worse.
This isn’t a band that will appeal to traditionalists. They are far too progressive and sophisticated for that for starters, and the fact that the shortest track here that isn’t a standalone or dual part epic clocks in at a bit more than seven and a half minutes does in itself make a statement I’d say.
The music itself is complex and quirky, filled with small details here and there to complement the driving and dominant elements. Tight riff textures with a light tone and something of an indie or alternative flair to them, but explored in extreme metal intensity, is one of the calling cards of the band. They will include their fair share of slower, darker toned rich guitar riff and impact riffs as well as the staccato, stomping and intense riffs you expect from a band with a foot inside the extreme metal spectrum too, but there’s also room for delicate wandering and plucked acoustic guitars, both as a dominant instrument details in gentler phases of the compositions as well as a gentle, underlying supportive one on the harder hitting and more intense passages. Hammering, intense drum patterns alternate with more intricate, quirkier and slower paced rhythms as needed, and the use of alternating growls and melodic lead vocals fits these landscapes very well indeed. With, unless I’m much mistaken, a slight tendency for the instrument support of the growls to be darker and rougher than for the clean and melodic vocals. And there’s the violin of course, used to add a melancholic timbre here, a dramatic solo there, and chaotic, twisted and distorted sounds and timbres both here and there. That we are treated to some alternating guitar and violin solo spots is a nice bonus feature.
The compositions are mainly structurally complex affairs, with numerous changes and alterations in pace, tone and intensity. From aggressive extreme metal and black metal to delicate wisps of what might be described as chamber music. Some sections appears to be closer to progressive rock in expression, others progressive metal, some of the acoustic driven sections have something of a folk music undercurrent to them as well I guess, but these are all parts of a greater extreme metal totality, adding flavor and variation to this core foundation of the band.
Those generally fond of extreme metal bands that are creative, sophisticated and inclusive in a progressive context should find plenty to enjoy on this third album by Ne Obliviscaris. This is intense, dramatic music, with interludes and transitions of a gentler nature as a fixed feature, and also an album that documents how the sound of the violin fits perfectly also in extreme metal. An album worth investigating for those who are familiar with the description progressive extreme metal and tend to enjoy music described in such a manner.
My rating: 80/100
Libera, Pt. 1 (Saturnine Spheres) / Libera, Pt. 2 (Ascent of Burning Moths) / Intra Venus / Eyrie / Urn, Pt. 1 (And Within The Void We Are Breathless) / Urn, Pt. 2 (As Embers Dance In Our Eyes)