Sound — 9
Ne Obliviscaris first formed in 2003 and nine long years later, they released their first album, "Portal Of I". They first drew a lot of attention in 2006 for strong live performances, and then again with their EP "The Aurora Veil" in 2007, but now they have broken out as one of the great new metal acts in the past few years.
Combining black metal and progressive metal with several different genres such as jazz and classical, Ne Obliviscaris is a six piece from Melbourne, Australia. The band has the standard set of drums, guitars, bass, and vocals, but they stand out with their inclusion of a violin. The violin is not treated as an afterthought left in the background, but at times a leading instrument.
Right away the band starts out heavy with their opener "Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract". However as the 12 minute song continues, it relaxes into a more ambient sound, choosing to create a beautiful atmosphere with an acoustic guitar and the violin rather than going 12 straight minutes of metal. The band weaves in and out of these moments throughout the album, but it never becomes boring. Every member of the band utilizes his talents. In the song "Of The Leper Butterflies", an excellent bassline can be heard, a vast improvement upon many other metal albums that choose simply to drown out the bass in the mix. Often times double bass drumming can be heard in the background, but they always play with the song and can play quietly and subtly when needed.
Lyrics — 9
There are two singers in the band, Xenoyr, the harsh vocalist and main lyricist, and Tim Charles, the clean vocalist. Xenoyr is a black metal vocalist and can be heard yelling, screaming, and growling to great effect. The clean vocals fit in well with the songs. At times, they are soft like in the beginning of "As Icicles Fall" and at other times, strong and soaring.
The lyrics are full of imagery and manage to avoid being cheesy. Themes are abstract and touch upon exploration and death. In the track, "Forget Not", the lyrics exemplify the strong imagery of the band.
"Masquerading, the grey vultures
Coalescing in black swansongs
...of the dead
...as the dead sigh
Therein the quickening shadows
Kisses upon lifeless fingers"
Overall Impression — 9
I would count "Portal of I" as one of the best releases of 2012 and I look forward to seeing more releases in the future from Ne Obliviscaris. My personal standouts would be "Of The Leper Butterflies" and "As Icicles Fall". Both are strong examples of the band's abilities to not only create beautiful atmospheres as well as showing off their instrumental prowess with fantastic guitar solos and a strong rhythm section. One of the only real problems with this release is that all but one of the songs are over nine minutes long. It's not a significant problem though since most of the songs were focused and didn't just wander off.
Also this is my first review, so please feel free to be harsh and unrelenting in your criticism.