My first encounter with Ne Obliviscaris was their Portal of I album. I liked it, but it didn’t grab me. Fast forward a few years and I saw them at Soundwave in 2015. They were pretty damn good. Now they are back again with their latest release, Urn. Don’t bother reading the rest, just go buy it. It’s brilliant.
Seriously, go buy it now.
If you’re not convinced, here’s a little more detail:
Libera (Part I) – Saturnine Spheres, the opening track for the album starts beautifully. A slow gentle build up into heavy, yet smooth goodness. The mellow vocals from Tim Charles are well balanced against the music. Unlike a lot of metal / prog bands, I can hear the vocals. His clean voice is followed by Xenoyr’s growls that are more understandable than most.
The melody is reminiscent of Opeth’s melancholic glory. Acoustic sections with basslines meandering around a violin solo or two. Tim’s violin on this album works to bring everything together. It’s like a third vocalist that fills in the gaps and becomes the centre focus while everything else circles around you. Then a wall of heaviness. Ne Obliviscaris are no strangers to throwing together a vast number of styles that mesh together so well.
Libera (Part II) – Ascent of Burning Moths seamlessly takes off with more violin from Tim and some fantastic guitar work. Pure enjoyment
Intra Venus (I see what you did there!) pounds away with Daniel “Mortuary” Presland’s drumming ceaselessly hammering against your skull but in a delicious way. Galloping guitars from Matt Klavins and Benjamin Baret keep the mood – slow, powerful and just amazing.
Robin Zielhorst plays bass throughout the album, but he is best heard on this track in a short solo that shows his complex finger work. He is complimented by guest cellist Tim Hennessy.
Eyrie is packed with emotion. This is the proggiest track yet. The last few minutes gave me goose bumps on the first listen. This is my favourite track and well worth listening to a few times to hear the different musical layers and how they interact.
The boys let out all the stops for the finale – Urn (Part I) – And Within the Void We Are Breathless and Urn (Part II) – As Embers Dance in Our Eyes. Everything from before is bigger, heavier and louder. It grabs you and doesn’t let go until the end.
This album tells a story without needing words. Sure, the lyrics are there and they flesh out where the band are going, but the music on this album is just incredible. But that doesn’t mean the vocals are just hanging around. Tim has an amazing voice with range, depth and an emotional conveyance that’s rare. It’s hard to fault this album. The only thing I can think of that would even begin to be a negative is the length. 6 tracks and 46 minutes later, I want more. It’s over way too soon. I already have a patch for my jacket, but I’m considering a second one.
Every time I come across this band they impress me more and more. Keep watching these guys, they are on their way.
Urn is out on October 27th via Season of Mist.