Sound — 8
I was looking around on iTunes one day when I saw "Portal Of I". I listened to a clip of "Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract" and... Wow. Later, I bought the full album and was impressed. The Australian maniacs, Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for "Forget not") have quite the talent... The guitars and bass are top notch, the drums are fast, pounding, and fortunately not overboard with random beats, AND there is a violin... Yes, a violin, used on occasion to great effect. The production is clean and well produced, yet not overproduced (Whew!)
Lyrics — 8
The vocalists, Xenoyr and Tim Charles (who also does the violin) are a bit more refined than most. Xenoyr, who does all harsh vocals and lyrics, keeps his vocals death/black metal like, never straying to the "hardcore" scream, for once! His lyrics usually talk of the consequence of life and death, with dramatic results. Tim, on the other hand, keeps his vocals in a high baritone-tenor voice, although not like a screamo clean. It need a little bit of work, though it's definitely more refined that in there demo ("The Aurora Veil"). Overall, very good.
Overall Impression — 9
After hearing it was nominated for one of the Albums of the year, I can see why. It's not completely ground-shattering inventive, but what it already does is amazing. These guys have total potential, and I hope they will continue to impress on their next full-length and beyond. It is not the best ever, but it is very well done. Overall, a coherent, solid debut, a definite recommendation! My favorite tracks - "As Icicles Fall", "Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract" and "And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope".