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Ne Obliviscaris - Urn Award winner

Ne Obliviscaris
Urn
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 06 October 2017, 11:23 AM

When you talk about bands that are on the cutting edge of the Metal genre, this is a name you should be familiar with. Formed in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, their unique Progressive and Extreme style has been heralded for its complexity and intensity, as well as moments of beauty that seem to spring up when least expected. How many Metal bands also feature the violin prominently? “Portal of I” was their debut LP on Code 666/Aural Music in 2012, followed by “Citadel” in 2014 via Season of Mist Records. Crowdfunding enabled the band to tour in support of their latest album, and they have been gaining recognition by fans and critics steadily along the way. Now, they present their newest album, “Urn,” which contains six tracks.

“Libera” is a total of twelve minutes in two movements. “Part I: Saturnine Spheres” opens with soft acoustic guitar notes in a misty haze of dark melody that soon gives way to a chaotic scene from distorted guitars, dancing bass guitar, clean vocals and the ever-present speed drumming of Dan Presland, which continues at a pace that is hard to image. Xenoyr’s harsh vocals cut against the melodies like a razor sharp knife into your flesh. One feature that always distinguished the band was the intertwining of deep and brutal elements with delicate harmonies and passages of the sublime. There is no loss of that feature here again on this track. Bass notes are more prominent here as well as they lock arms with the violin in a tango. It rises into a crescendo that shoots above mountain spires into the clouds above, and then segues into “Part II: Ascent of Burning Moths,” which features the sweet and disciplined violin of Tim Charles.

“Intra Venus” was the first single they released in advance of the album. The opening sequence has a despondent sound from the violin but pretty quickly builds to a steady rhythm going forward. Once again it is the lightning footwork of Dan Presland that provides the backbone for the song. The back and forth of harsh and clean vocals are like an angel and a demon vying for dominance. The acoustic guitar notes are alluring but with an air of suspense at the same time, and work well with Tim’s airy clean vocals. “Eyrie” is a twelve minute opus. The atmospheric opening reminds me of the beauty you hear in the Ambient/Post Black Metal genre. It’s that solitary feeling of seeing a ravine with clear running water and speckled colorful flowers as snow-capped mountains rise like giants on all sides, and the peaceful sounds of nature. This is by far one of the prettiest melodies I have heard this year in a song. But grey skies soon advance, with the rumbling thunder of Xenoyr’s howls and increased instrumentation in guitar, bass and drums. The combination of techniques and emotions you can grasp here are quite fascinating. It is rich, deep and oh so satisfying…an absolutely stunning work of art.

“Urn” is a fourteen minute song, divided into two movements. “Part I: And Within The Void We Are Breathless” is an attacking piece, with a hurried pace and roots that spiral deep into the underworld. If you were waiting for that brutal beating, it is here, but the beating comes with a polite smile on the other end. “Part II: As Embers Dance In Our Eyes” completes the assault. It’s a dark and bitter pill, and when you swallow it there is no turning back. Xenoyr’s harsh vocals are very nasty here, filling the room with a blanket of evil and blackness that is unescapable. The light that stays lit within comes from the clean vocals of Tim Charles, clinging to the hope of life in a world crumbling around it.

The production here is truly magnificent. Clear and luminous, everything is in its proper place for you to enjoy. This is a complex work of art that has lush layers of sophisticated songwriting with all the refinement and grace that melody can offer, while retaining that hard edge of Extreme Metal music that we all love. The songs are a bit more succinct for me than some of their previous albums, and they seem to have really found that synergy here, that perfect combination of beauty and attraction that also comes with despair and wretched anger. The key to the marvel of this album is both the way these things can co-exist and the manner in which they do. It’s a montage of musical transcendence that doesn’t conform to the rules of the universe, exists outside of boundaries you have become accustomed to, and an absolute contender for “album of the year.”

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Libera (Part I) Saturnine Spheres
2. Libera (Part II) Ascent of Burning Moths
3. Intra Venus
4. Eyrie
5. Urn (Part I) And Within the Void We Are Breathless
6. Urn (Part II) As Embers Dance in our Eyes
Lineup:
Tim Charles – Violin, Vocals (Clean)
Xenoyr – Vocals (Harsh)
Matt Klavins – Guitars
Daniel Presland – Drums
Benjamin Baret – Guitars
Record Label: Season of Mist
     


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