Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
Label: Code666 Records
Reviewer: Azmo Lozmodial - 2012-08-02
Highlights: Most of tracks are highlights
The world is full of wonders, or, so they say. The Metal universe is packed with strange experiments that one may encounter with or without warning and expose himself to the risks of discovery. Ne Obliviscaris, the Australian Progressive / Melodic Black Metal band delivered an amazing masterpiece to the record of Extreme Metal. The band was formed in 2003 and released a demo album in 2007 titled, "The Aurora Veil". The album managed to show what the member of this group can do and paved the road for the latest album, "Portal of I".
This show of wonder starts with the first piece, "Tapestry of the Starless Abstract". The track is loaded with Black Metal riffs that hit the listener from the first second and is closely followed by the descent into crispy vocals. After a show of a few guitar skills, the growling and clean vocals are brought in. Through the magic of mixing, the lead guitar lines enter as the vocals fade out, after the end f this extreme theme, the violins begin and kill every emotion that the listener might have, the violin is backed by clean guitar lines and the track hits the extreme button again to a speedy tempo. Just as the lyrics say, "PARADISE, PARADISE FOUND”, this track can only be described by listening to it.
"Xenoflux" is the second piece, this entire album bleeds of Black Metal aesthetics performed in a way similar to Progressive Metal. Which, alothough an extreme Metal genre to many bands, it is rarely ever played the same. The riffs on this record are more mid-paced and melodic, they give the atmosphere a darker tone to accompany Xenoyr and Tim Charles vocals. Some the overall tone and vibe of the record might not be as aggressive as many fans may have thought it would be, but this style lends itself to being performed live. Much of the music has small breaks, like seconds, that would lure people into cheering when this is being played live, only to go back into a cool riff.
Track three, "Of the Leper Butterflies" is definitely an impressive piece of work. It is a 6-minute song with more timing, rhythm, and mood changes but with less makeup. The drums and vocals are what stand out in this release, accompanied by strong, atmospheric keyboards. Guitars and bass are more timekeepers than actual elements of the music, but nonetheless add to the whole experience of this album.
Since Ne Obliviscaris was introduced to me as a Black Metal band; it was definitely surprising when the track opened with a violin – being 90 seconds of an instrumental introduction that sounded like a classical symphonic piece, complete with clean guitars. This will, however, not be the only jazz reference that one would encounter in the album, as the band will further incorporate these influences into the tracks to follow; displaying the versatility of the musicians in the band. Don't be fooled by the soothing violin as the band plunges into the Extreme Metal mode without warning, with the growls of vocals and the aggressive, razor-sharp guitar riffs. The band constantly displays their ability to go from one mode to another right from the beginning. The melodic, yet technical guitar solo with little warning moves into yet another jazzy section in the middle of the track before the song ended with a bang. That’s what happened to me while I was listening to, "Forget Not" and, "And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope".
"As Icicles Fall" is different in regards to that most of the other tracks followed classic, Extreme Metal patterns and are fast in tempo. The avant-garde aspect of this song comes from moments where progressive patterns emerge, especially in the rhythm guitars and drums, and also from the use of weird, almost retro, sound effects by the keyboards. Yet, the crispy vocals provide the sensation of a powerful Metal bane.
"Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise" starts off with a melodic introduction but soon bursts into the riffs, with a high-pitched riff leading everything. Now, this is where you can definitely hear either two vocals or, one with a lot of range as there are two distinct voices that can be heard in the verses. This song, again, has a slower section, where a solo is played over it. This time it's a very melodic solo, and very well played. With this song, it seems that the vocals are a bit too overpowering, and sometimes seem to cover up the riffs, instead of flowing with them.
I can't find a single boring moment in this impressive, dynamic album. If there are slightly weak spots, they are few and far between. Some songs, like "And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope" are like brightly burning flames, constantly transforming and taking new shapes, which is actually quite beautiful to listen to. This is certainly not some mindless mistreatment of poor instruments, and I swear I can hear the guitars enjoying themselves at several points. In fact, just stop reading this review and order "Portal of I" right now. If you like Black or Death Metal you'll at the very least enjoy the eminence of Ne Obliviscaris.