Review Summary: The overall feel of Ne Obliviscaris is around their melodic bridges which showcase the band’s ability to write great and well-structured pieces of music. A big let down is during the vocal sections where the two vocal styles cause a strange vibe.
Ne Obliviscaris’ Portal of I is their debut album. They are a band hailing from Melbourne, Australian influenced by many different sorts of music not only metal. They are mainly a progressive metal band featuring many elements of classical music and other popular metal sub-genres.
Opening Ne Obliviscaris album, Portal of I is the song, Tapestry of the Starless Abstract. Straight away you are faced some rather amazing Chuck Schuldiner from Death styled vocals which really show the true character of Xenoyr, the lead vocalist. As the song progresses you hear the clean vocals of Tim Charles, the contrast of the two vocalists is good but could be improved. The song then hits a bridge where Tim’s stunning violin work is displayed, the song bares resemblance to an Opeth like structure of songs on Blackwater Park. Towards the end of the song we see Benjamin Baret guitar playing with a well-rounded shredding solo which is contrasted yet again by Tim Charles with a marvellous counter melody with a violin behind the solo. The almost 12min epic ends on a major change which really solidifies it the strength of the opening track.
The second song opens on a more melodic death metal feel, the song is interestingly titled Xenoflux. This is where you begin to hear a very strong bass counter melody and overall the excellence of Cygnus being able to break through the strong front of the band’s vocals, violin and guitar section. The only down side of the second track is that it kind gets monotone and seems to be repeating itself and not really introducing anything new to the track this continues from the start to about the 5min mark. Though the bridge of the song once again shows the bands ability to create a classical atmosphere and a massive dynamic shift though I don’t think it was worth the near 5min wait to hear the bridge. Once again Benjamin shows his great lead playing ability as well as Tim’s violin playing. A wonderful ending to a song, but the early stage of the song could easily be cut down and wouldn’t be missed.
The Leper of butterflies is the shortest song on the album coming in at 5mins and 54secs. A great instrumental intro creating a stunning airy feeling, before the metal assault begins. Once again we are shown both clean and growling vocals together. The contrast once again could be improved as the two singer seem out of place. But the song definitely has another high point in the rapid dynamic Opethy shift which shows off some acoustic guitars work with yet another great showcase by the lead guitar. The last part of the song display how well Tim can fit a violin over the heavy music with great results. Also we get to hear great deep and long notes held by Xenoyr.
The next song, Forget Not features a great intro solo by Tim once again presenting his amazing violin playing. This song does not rush into the extreme metal that it usually does but rather keeps things on the calm. This is a great example of Ne Obliviscaris at the top of their game, being able to showcase the band almost as whole with a 12min song that doesn’t get boring as time goes on. This is also the first song where Tim clearly takes on lead vocals only being supported by Xenoyr’s growls in the background. This is a much better use of contrasting vocals than in previous songs. There are some amazing soft high notes pulled off by Tim towards the latter half of the song. It displays a great use of the talent of Cygnus. Only towards the end is Ne Obliviscaris’ brutal side shown which is complimented by a well-placed soft violin piece. In the last minute of the song we hear the usual Xenoyr vocals with Tim contrasting them, this time they feel much more in place than in other songs and flow better.
And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope seems to be a single for Ne Obliviscaris and is the song that introduced to them, in addition it has been adopted by the Sydney Conservatorium to be studied . The song starts off with a violin building up. This violin is supported by an acoustic guitar which almost feels like a snake being tamed by the guitar. The way the whole band support the violin in the following part is truly amazing. When the band come in, it is with a stunning progression and when the lead vocals start they are (this time) perfectly backed up by Tim’s clean vocals followed by yet another example of stunning violin work. This song is also a great example of how Benjamin’s guitar work blends in well with the already amazing violin work, and it seems to be a natural feel without a fight for the spotlight. In this song you can once again see the brutal side of Ne Obliviscaris and to their credit the really heavy elements of their music doesn’t seem like a group of guys trying to place fast but almost a sense of structured brutality. There is a really clear Opeth influence that creeps into almost every songs and this is no different, with an amazing bridge element that changes the whole song. The wonderful element of this is song has to be the dynamic shifts that break up any sense of boredom and they keep you tuned in unlike in Xenoflux.
Following the epic song that is And Plagues Flowers the Kaleidoscope is the song As Icicles Fall. The start of this song is completely different to the previous providing a much softer approach. This is great if you are interested in listening to the stunning cleans of Tim Charles. His high register is displayed very well and fits beautifully with the upbeat music played. The downside of this tracks comes out when Xenoyr adds his vocals. Once he takes the lead vocalist form they fit a lot better. The following sections of the song really show the best parts of band with a wonderful rhythm section and great melody line by Tim. With a beautiful complimenting solo by Benjamin. In addition Benjamin uses arpeggios which fit the song wonderfully and are used by Tim to create a counter melody.
The last track on the album is Of Petichor Weaves Black Noise, once again a long song coming in at close to 10mins. The calm takes a swift turn into a full band assault something that the band have come to deliver on well. Though once again when the vocals start the mixture of Death styled vocals just don’t work with the almost ballad-esque vocal style. Even after a creative breakdown the two vocal styles come together really not working as well as they could of. It is only when the cleans are by themselves do they really become to sound really strong. You can tell that when Xenoyr sings over the music it fits naturally. Though the clever work between the guitars, bass and drums really help to cover the disappointment of the vocals in this song. With the following riffs in the song credit has to be given to both Benjamin and Matt (Klavins) for some amazing work both in terms lead and rhythm playing something that is a very strong feature on the album. The bridge in the song has been featured in every song on the album and is getting repetitive even though its good, it just stops being too interesting though it does leave the listener on a high point.
The overall feel of Ne Obliviscaris is around their melodic bridges which showcase the band’s ability to write great and well-structured pieces of music. The really differences Ne Obliviscaris and other bands is there use of Tim Charles who is playing violin, yes a violin in a metal band. Though a large let down of the album is the clean vocals of Tim and growls of Xenoyr don’t match up throughout most of the albums. While on the other hand the bridges are very well written always interesting, but after listening to the whole album they do tend to start getting repetitive. Another element is that the drums seem almost programed and lack a live feel. So here is the score:
String section 5/5
1 star 0-10
2 star 10-20
3 star 20-25
4 star 25-30
5 star 30-35