Review Summary: What we've all been waiting for...
Ne Obliviscaris are a band that seemed to have garnered quite a hefty following after releasing a three song demo back in 2007. With a unique sound of Black Metal with Jazz and Classical influences, as well as several others, this group of wonderfully talented musicians were definitely on their way to making something big with their own special blend of Progressive Metal music, and, with several album delays and some disgruntled and impatient fans, Ne Obliviscaris have, after five long years, released their debut LP 'Portal of I'
. The album contains the three original songs from the demo, as well as four new tracks, but does it live up to the expectation?
Beginning where the demo started, the album kicks off with the newly recorded Tapestry of the Starless Abstract
. The song is more or less the same, with some cleaner production and some minor elements more developed, with some abstract riffing under the vocals near the beginning of the song and that odd acoustic plucking being a little more coherent than before. The clean vocals have improved since the demo, but I feel the production at certain points leaves them sounding too quiet under the music, or too distant.
After the opening track, we get to hear the first new song (which in itself isn't exactly new, as the band have played it live long before now). Fast paced and driven by the drums as violin rolls over behind the harsh vocals, which also have seemed to have improved since the demo. The squealing guitars and violin that kick in further along paint a desolate and brooding landscape for the album, unrelentless until it all crashes down into a softer, guitar driven section.
The album holds a constant mood, but never sounds the same twice. It's constantly shifting, changing, progressing. From soaring clean vocals to crushing harsh growls, the tense drumming behind the kit keeps you gripped. Sometimes this album just sounds damn groovy, notably in the intro for And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope
, but at times it sounds almost ambient and dreamlike with small portions of various songs, the flawless transitions make sure you don't skip a beat or miss anything. It can be as heavy and as crushing or as soft and serene as it wants. It takes the best examples from Black, thrash, Death or even Doom and it just pieces it all together as if music were some kind of odd puzzle.
This album isn't without its flaws, most notable the production on a large portion of the clean vocals seems very underwhelming, too quiet at a lot of points and it subtracts from the experience. The drumming, whilst excellent at all times can get a little monotonous at points, seeming a little overdone, but this never lasts long. But simply enough, this album has too much to talk about in each track and it feels a little futile to try and make note of it all. It could be a tad overbearing for some, but somehow I can't imagine how it could.
All in all, this album is a grim endeavour. It completely engages you and doesn't let you go. It brings forth a new, palatable musical style and direction, but it doesn't sound forced or experimental, it sounds as though it has always supposed to be that way and like you've always known it. A wholly enjoyable experience, with very few flaws, even with re-recorded demo tracks taking up half the album, this album does not disappoint. Which leads to my original question: Does it live up to the expectation? Simply, yes. Yes, it does.
- Forget Not
- And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope
- Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise