If someone told me in 2007 that the best release to be born in that year would be a demo from an unsigned black metal band based in Australia of all places, I probably would have thought them deluded and their statements baseless, but here I sit, converted and enlightened. Very few bands are really “unique” in the strict sense of the word, but Ne Obliviscaris are one of those elite minority; and this is only their first release!
The sound on this demo is unbelievably mature for a first demo. Granted the band had been playing together for five years before the release, but the result is impressive nonetheless. The group synergy present here is what really gives the album the developed feel which it undoubtedly contains; you can really feel the waves between the sextet which keep a huge amount of focus present throughout the demo.
The band consists of a drummer, two guitarists, a bassist, harsh vocalist and a violinist/clean vocalist. For those who saw “violinist” and were immediately turned off due to how most bands utilise them for very shallow effect, discard all of your preconceptions. This isn’t just a session player hired for some classical atmosphere or the guitarist having a bash at playing a different instrument just because he feels that he can, this guy is a real virtuoso. His playing is just as impressive as the guitarwork and is shown off to the same extent, with the interplay between the two being one of the highlights of the release.
The drummer, Daniel Presland may be familiar to some, as he was crowned the fastest feet in Australia in 2006. Don’t take this to mean that he sits and plays machine-gun blast-beats for thirty-three minutes though, he excercises many interesting patterns, most of them based around very quick double-kick work with cymbal and drum hits emphasising the other instruments. He goes off on his own for most of the interludes, playing less standard passages rooted mainly in other genres.
The lead guitarist is no pushover on this release either, with some very clean and technical solos and very moving acoustic melodies. The bass is unfortunately rather inaudible for the majority of the release, but there’s so much going on at one time that having it higher in the mix would draw some of the emphasis away from the other intricacies. He does shine in some sections though, such as the end of the first track in which he helps craft a very pleasing conclusion.
As previously stated, the vocals are shared between an exclusive singer and the violinist. The harsh vocals fit the music perfectly and aren’t too overdone or highly mixed as they are in so many other black metal bands. The use of clean vocals suits the music very well and the violinist’s voice is crystal-clear, but it is also very nasal and sounds slightly juvenile compared to the rest of the release.
Obviously, Ne Obliviscaris aren’t just a straight black metal band with a violin, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this review (or you would be reading it on a different site). They have influence from many genres from inside and outside of metal. They fuse their black metal base with classical influence, jazz, progressive metal, death metal and even flamenco in parts, all of which contribute to their sui generis sound. The aggressiveness is juxtaposed to the sheer beauty of the acoustic and violin sections as well as woven together, creating a very emotive and powerful tone.
These Australian prodigies are looking to take the metal scene by storm when their first full album is released some time this year, and I can tell you that I will be pre-ordering it as soon as the announcement is made, as this is some of the most beautiful and intelligent metal to grace my ears in a long time.
Avantgenre: Unique Black Metal
Official site: http://www.neobliviscaris.com
Review online since: 31.03.2009 / 22:36:04
01 – Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract
02 – Forget Not
03 – As Icicles Fall