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Old May 10th, 2012, 06:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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NE OBLIVISCARIS - Reviews

http://dontcountonitreviews.blogspot...of-i-2012.html

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I (2012)

Band: Ne Obliviscaris
Country: Melbourne, Australia
Style: Progressive Black Metal
Label: Code666

If you're a fan of progressive and forward thinking black metal bands, this is probably one of your most anticipated releases this year. Ne Obliviscaris first came into our consciousness five years ago with their demo The Aurora Veil, and it's taken them five, long years to follow it up with this full-length. It's one of those albums that once you get, you just have to listen to because you're so excited to listen to.
I guess there's no point in holding back here, I freaking loved this thing. It's everything I want from a progressive metal album and from what I've seen thus far based on other's opinions of it, I don't think it's let anyone down thus far. Trust me, this thing could have been one of those albums that was hyped as hell and then could have just been really lame and a total let down. Based on the response the band got from a three track demo/EP that was released five years ago, it very well could've turned this entire album into one big face-palm moment. When a band is as hyped as this one was based off of what was essentially a demo, if this had been bad, it could have pretty much signaled the end of a band's career, at least that's the sort of height I witnessed when reading comments and reviews based on their demo. Luckily, that was not the case, and many people, myself included, seem to have dug their teeth into this and have really fallen for the taste.
I mean, there are so many different ideas on here that it just blew my mind away, even the three songs on their demo that appear on here are even better, in my opinion, than they were. I think it's worthy of note mentioning that of the seven songs on here, only one is under nine minutes in length, and to me, that's an achievement. For a band to be able to keep a listener engaged with songs that long, for an album this long, is a very hard thing, and there have been plenty of albums where I've kind of felt bored about half way through or so and kind of wished the band would just kind of move things along, but every song on here just hit all the right marks and didn't even feel half as long as they actually were. I just have to say Tim Charles' violin playing on here is insane, there were points where I actually thought they had a sax or keyboard played due to how fluid the playing of it was, and how it was playing in sync with the other instruments during those sections. In addition to that, his clean vocals were really good, and I seriously got chills from some of the parts on Forget Not and As Icicles Fall, which are two of the older songs, but they hit even harder on here than before. But don't discount the harsher vocals of Xenoyr, who brings quite a good range to the album, from lower death metal growls to higher black metal rasps. For the most part though, I wouldn't even say he sounds too much like another vocalist, except for a little bit on closer Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise, where I kind of get a Mikael Stanne kind of vibe from some of his parts, but I'm a big fan of Stanne, so no harm, no foul in my book. It's when both vocalists pair up their parts that it allows those epic build ups to sound so powerful.
Then you have the epic guitar playing, bass included, which bring a serious amount of variety to this album. I mean, sure, you have your typical black metal tremolo picking parts, and your more standard fare of death metal and melo-death metal parts, but you have these parts that seriously recall Opeth, in spirit more than actual performance, during the jazzy cleaner moments. I mean, as someone who likes flamenco guitar playing, but hasn't heard a whole lot of band implement it into their sound beyond a solo or something like that, these guys mix it in really, really well. If the entire opening passage of And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope doesn't convince you that these guys can play, nothing will. Structurally, I mean, there's any number of groups I guess you could compare them to, but even within that realm there's a really good grasp of different build-ups and climaxes on here. I don't know how much stock you'd put into this since this has been five years, if not more, in the making, but for a debut, it's seriously, staggeringly mature. It's crazy to me, it may just be the hype, but every time I've listened to this, I get a little more out of it.
I know this probably wasn't so much of a review as much as me essentially just declaring my undying love for this album, but this is seriously one of the best albums to have come out this year, and I will declare this now, will be one of the best releases you will hear this year. This is what I want from a progressive album, I want a totally immersive experience where I can't, as well as don't, want to stop listening to an album. Easily one of my favorite, and one of the best, albums I've heard all year, and did not let me down on any level. Seriously, if you haven't heard this album yet, what are you doing?

Overall Score: 9.5/10
Highlights: Every Song Is A Highlight
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Old May 10th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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http://www.queensofsteel.com/2012/05...s-portal-of-i/

NE OBLIVISCARIS – Portal of I

Tras una brillante demo titulada “The Aurora Veil”, el grupo australiano NE OBLIVISCARIS por fin saca a la luz su primer álbum de larga duración, “Portal of I”. El grupo de Melbourne sorprendió con su demo inicial a todos aquellos que tuvieron la oportunidad de escucharlos, por lo que las expectativas para este primer largo no podrían ser otra cosa que realmente altas. Pero con el mismo potencial que demostraron en aquel primer trabajo, vuelven a sorprender y a ponerse ellos mismos el listón muy alto dentro de su peculiar estilo, influenciado especialmente por el Black Metal.

NE OBLIVISCARIS combinan en su sonido Black Metal con toques progresivos y hasta sinfónicos, incluso ciertas pinceladas de Shoegaze, mezclando siempre de manera soberbia brutalidad y melodía. De hecho la combinación de distintos estilos es algo que les hace ser únicos. La composición que demuestran es realmente compleja, y en ella se confunden distintos arpegios de guitarra, diferente armonías y melodías que se pierden en pistas con numerosos cambios. Por si esto no fuera suficiente, cada canción fluye realmente bien, a pesar de que en algunas reinen furiosos blast beats y en otras partes melódicas, con pasajes acústicos y coros fantasmagóricos, incluso con la incursión de sonidos de violines que en ocasiones acercan su sonido al de grupos de Gohic Metal. Aparte de la instrumentación básica de cualquier combo de Metal y de los violines, también hay momentos en los que las protagonistas son unas interesantes guitarras acústicas, como en el interludio de “Tapestry of the Starless Abst”.

Por encima de todo, en este “Portal of I”, el grupo australiano opta por un sonido pesado ejecutado de forma grandiosa, con un sonido claro y nítido que crea imágenes en tu cabeza nada más escucharlo. Está claro que para interpretar algo tan único y arriesgado, hay que tener unas grandes dotes musicales y artísticas, así como compositivas, y eso es algo que, sin lugar de dudas, no les falta a NE OBLIVISCARIS, y lo muestran a la perfección en las estructuras progresivas que no dejan indiferente a nadie. Y siguiendo con el lado compositivo del grupo, es obvio que cada parte de cada corte está perfectamente estudiado y desarrollado, de hecho con ello logran mantener enganchado al oyente en todo momento, sin caer en el aburrimiento a pesar de la larga duración y la complejidad de las canciones, ni tan solo en los pasajes que resultan casi caóticos y disonantes.

Si la diversidad del grupo es algo más que obvio, también encontramos esa versatilidad en las voces, combinando entre Tim Charles y Xenoyr todo tipo de voces melódicas con distintos registros de las voces más agresivas, yendo de gritos hasta voces guturales.

NE OBLIVISCARIS tienen una personalidad arrolladora que los diferencia del resto de bandas de Metal extremo, tomando influencias de grupos tan dispares como EMPEROR, ALCEST o TO-MERA, incluso de formaciones como THERION en los momentos más imperiosos. Además de tener una calidad instrumental y compositiva abrumadora, “Portal of I” es un viaje que absorbe por completo al oyente desde la primera. Estos chicos hacen accesible la complejidad.



code666 (2012)

Puntuación: 8,5/10
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Old May 10th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/4...s-Portal-of-I/

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I

Rating: 4.5 / 5 - Superb

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 crush 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 monotones 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.

Recommended Tracks
- Forget Not
- And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope
- Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise
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Old May 10th, 2012, 07:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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http://www.metal-archives.com/review...l_of_I/336960/

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal Of I
80/100

Several years back there was a storm of hype with the name Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for “Lest We Forget”) attached to it. Some were going so far as to suggest that this outfit of Aussies had reinvented metal as we know it, a lofty claim given the general tendency of the greater umbrella to expand gradually through tiny quirks in specific interpretations of a singular band or individual. Eventually calmer heads need to prevail in the name of an accurate account of this band’s musical content, which is quite impressive at first glance, but turns out to be rather commonplace with maybe the exception of the sheer scale of what is being done.

There are bits and pieces of ideas from various extreme progressive bands such as To-Mera and Opeth spattered all over the mostly 9 minutes plus songs found on here, culminating in a rather complex yet very methodical mixture of morose and serene musical pictures. The later work of Emperor also plays a key part in the most intense aspects of what is going on, namely the blasting sections where a collage of tremolo riffs and repetitive themes meld together to create a sort of misty feel, not all that far removed from the stew of sounds that dominated “Prometheus – The Principle Of Fire And Demise”. Yet at the same time there’s a recurring violin sound through most of the album that brings a bit of an early Tristania/Sirenia element into the flavor as well.

On the whole, this music tends to be heavily impressionistic and tends to lead the listener around without totally bringing things to a cadence. It’s sort of along the lines of a contemplative process where one travels rapidly yet isn’t actually moving anywhere, but with a bit more of a metallic punch to it than what gets thrown around in comparable shoegaze oriented bands like Alcest. A good amount of its charm is likely lost on those who are not big on acoustic interludes and large, film score elements being injected into the format, which again brings us back to the whole Opeth connection. While Ne Obliviscaris is definitely influenced by said outfit, unlike them there is at least some semblance of a song to grab onto, albeit it usually comes about when things are in full swing.

The sheer level of musicianship on display here is ultimately the chief draw, which is usually the case for progressive outfits, although here it manifests less so with blatant technical showboating and more with the multiplicity of ideas generated from one section to the next. These aren’t really songs so much as they are compositions where the writer takes about as much time expanding his own parameters as he does trying to rope in listeners, but the presentation is effective enough to do both. About the only thing that might give this album trouble is the tension between consonance and dissonance, particularly the mixture of clean and shouted vocals. While the latter comes off as a pretty tried and true death bark in the mold early Therion, the former is pristine to the point of being pop-like, a functionality that is less attractive in a male metal vocalist than a female one in this style, but it’s carried reasonably well and doesn’t dwell too much on one or the other.

It may seem a bit odd, but the ultimate thing holding this album back is literally how great it attempts to be. “Portal Of I” is almost like a dream, absorbing the listener completely to the point of being lost in it, but only being able to come away with parts rather than a clear impression of the whole. Even after several listens, I’ve found myself struggling to truly grasp the spirit of what is being articulated, leaving not only questions of accessibility, but also of effectiveness. It could be qualified as great, but at the same time lacking in essential goodness. But it is, nevertheless, a music that understands the quirky nature of its audience and will definitely be a force of sorts in the metal world within its own niche.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on May 8, 2012.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 05:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
4.5/5

Un lustro di travaglio ha finalmente dato ai Ne Obliviscaris un corpo fatto e finito.
Il 21 aprile 2007 fece capolino da quel di Melbourne The Aurora veil, demo anomala, che a essere un feto la si sarebbe chiamata Benjamin Button, sorprendente per maturitŕ artistica, qualitŕ di produzione, coesione esecutiva e, non da ultimo, successo. Questa band di ignoti attirň infatti molti sguardi nei cunicoli dell’Underground, il suo tripudio di suoni, spunti e commistioni musicali, indefinitamente classificabile come Progressive/Avantgarde/Symphonic Black-Death/Extreme (sternocleidomast…) Metal, č giunto ad esser per alcuni oggetto di ammirazione sacrale. Ecco che dopo cinque anni di assestamento, cambi di line-up e finanche insidie di frontiera per importare il nuovo plettro francese (Benjamin Baret), i nostri volano oltreoceano a registrare il loro primo full-lenght in… “mancoadirloScandinavia” (Svezia). Magari č stata proprio la rapiditŕ dell’esordio a richiedere tutte queste albe per la materializzazione di Portal of I, ma l’attesa ha solo contribuito ad allungare la coda di chi ora compra a scatola chiusa il cd ancora tiepido di conio. Il risultato č la stesura della seconda parte di una saga giŕ iniziata: sette tracce, di cui tre accorpamento dell’intero The Aurora Veil ripassato in studio.
Orbene, nulla di nuovo: un’impeccabile opera insolita!
Tremolo-riffs di profilo Black Metal sullo sfondo, cadenzati da un caustico e metodico Daniel “Mortuary” Presland o “Usain Bolt della batteria” (Fastest Feet in Australia nel 2006) e mentre Presland ricorda il pie’ veloce di Atalanta, “atlantico” Brendan “Cygnus” Brown sorregge un piedistallo di basso tecnicamente devastante, scorrazzando dal Prog, al Thrash, dal Jazz al semplice Black Metal. Non meno eclettica la tortuosa chitarra solista che giocherella insieme col violino di Tim Charles, vera arma segreta dei NeO. La coppia sembra non prendere mai fiato, con esiti davvero orchestrali. Charles, non pago, flirta con l’ugola (seppur un po’ artefatta) intonando un duetto con lo scream di Xenoyr. Questo scioglilingua in apnea di suoni prende forma in sette atti dalla media durata di dieci minuti cadauno, cosě lunghi e variegati da poterli definire “concept-tracks” piuttosto che brani. Ovvio che con un genere cosě pensato, inevitabile č la premura per una produzione piů nitida del sound-check dello Zecchino d’Oro, oltretutto č sempre abilmente evitata la deriva nel caos indistinto di rumori o nel virtuosismo autoreferenziale: nonostante la metabolizzazione non immediata dell’insieme, ogni strumento ha dignitŕ autonoma e sposa armoniosamente tutti gli altri. A coronamento di tutto, la leggiadria conferita da voce pulita e violino si coniuga con intensi testi esistenziali e artworks popolati da farfalle e colombe, non tralasciando il companatico dal gusto Black Metal.
Ora che la fine dell’inizio dei Ne Obliviscaris (trad. dal Latino “non dimeticare”) si č ufficializzata, le aspettative si sono degnamente coronate e chissŕ se davvero questi sei stravaganti e insoliti metallari potranno farci dire un giorno “non vi abbiamo dimenticati”.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 11:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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http://heavymetaltribune.blogspot.co...portal-of.html

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I

Australia's Ne Obliviscaris has managed to cause a storm in the international metal underground, with just a single demo, 2007's The Aurora Veil under their belt. Despite the release being a demo release, the quality of the demo was extremely high, both musically and in terms of production, easily being of a full length quality. Five years (and some visa-related drama) later, the band finally releases their highly anticipated debut full length album, Portal of I, containing updated versions of the three tracks that were initially presented on The Aurora Veil. Fret not though, as the material on Portal of I span more than 1 hour, allowing for fans of the band to slowly soak in new material as well.

And like The Aurora Veil, Portal of I opens with Tapestry of the Starless Abstract, and the polished production quality is immediately noticeable, and this would throughout the album give the songs of Ne Obliviscaris a rather different feel compared to the demo, providing a more dynamic sound and allowing the various instruments to really shine, though the band remaining mostly the same in terms of songwriting and musicality. Sticking true to the originals, the band does not leave out details, keeping the unique elements in their music, such as weird tinkling at the background of Tapestry of the Starless Abstract. Another notable improvement is in the clean vocals department of Tim, who also handles the violins on the album, much less whiney that those on The Aurora Veil, and this definitely removes some of the less desirable elements (personally) that were on the excellent demo. Apart from that, Xenoyr's vocals have also matured, with his growls hitting a deeper register, providing the depth in the music, and removing that somewhat core-ish feel that was appeared at times on The Aurora Veil, particularly towards the end of Tapestry of the Starless Abstract where the clean vocals of Tim and the growls of Xenoyr are layered together.

What made this band stand out personally on my first few encounters was the prominence of the violins of Tim in the band. While bands that featured unconventional instruments often underutilised them, having them serve as an ambient instrument, Ne Obliviscaris' songs typically allow for the violins to really shine, with the numerous lead segments given to Tim helping to create that emotional tension in the music, often interplaying with the lead guitars to create a unique listening experience. Songs like Xenoflux also saw the violins creating that chilling feel in the music, sounding like an inhuman scream at the background. Other than the violins, the bass guitars of Brendan also constantly stood out, and songs like Of the Leper Butterflies had the bass guitar drive the music, taking over as the lead instrument in the introductory section.

Also, needless to say, the band's progressive influences are strongly displayed throughout the album, with the shortest track on the album being the 6-minute Of the Leper Butterflies. Heck, a single track could contain so many different segments and elements that each song could easily count as an EP in itself. Other than the three tracks, the band displays the maturity in their songwriting, with new tracks like Xenoflux containing even more aggressive moments without losing that sense of melody and emotional rollercoaster in the transitions between different moods that made the band such a unique entity.

There is just so much going on in the music of Ne Obliviscaris that it is hard to really pen down in words. Most bands that create such a hype with the first demo release often fail to deliver on their debut full length album, partially caused by the high expectations that fans have had for them. But Ne Obliviscaris, with Portal of I has more than met the mark, and is sure to please most of the fans.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
95/100

#PER CHI AMA: Metal, Dream Theater, Dimmu Borgir, Skyclad, My Dying Bride
Spettacolo! Punto. Finito. La mia recensione si chiude qui, con quello che era uno dei lavori che attendevo in assoluto da piů tempo… ecco gli australiani Ne Obliviscaris, che mi avevano conquistato nel 2007 con un demo cd di tre magnifici pezzi (contenuti anche in questo full lenght), “The AuroraVeil”. Da allora, ho cercato segnali di vita da parte della band e in effetti qualche contatto epistolare l’ho anche avuto, li ho spronati a firmare per un’etichetta italiana, ma niente da fare (dovrň fondare la mia personale label per avere questa stupefacente band tra le mie grinfie). Ma veniamo alla notevolissima proposta dei nostri: se superate il primo devastante minuto in cui vi sembrerŕ di ascoltare un piattissimo disco death black, vi garantisco che non ve ne pentirete perché entrerete nel magnetico mondo targato Ne Obliviscaris. “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract” č la prima perla, che giŕ conoscevo dal precedente demo e che dimostra un tasso tecnico esagerato, un gusto per le melodie assai raro, che si esplica attraverso progressivi pezzi di chitarra, inserti di violino da brivido, parti acustiche e vocals che si alternano tra le harsh di Xenoyr e quelle stupende pulite di Tim Charles. 12 minuti di pura delizia per le mie orecchie che proseguono attraverso le mirabili orchestrazioni della successiva “Xenoflux”, che a livello di ritmiche sa molto di Opeth, con una ritmica ben piů tesa e serrata, che non lascia via di scampo. Frustate severe sulla batteria, aggressivi giri di chitarra, stemperati (e neppure poi tanto) da sinistri suoni di violino e dall’ambientale break centrale di chitarre arpeggiate. Ecco, siamo al cospetto di rock psichedelico che va giŕ a porre “Portal of I” tra i miei 2 dischi preferiti di questo sorprendente 2012 (l’altro sono i Sunpocrisy). Le sorprese e il piacere derivante dall’ascolto di un cd, non finiscono certo qui: “Of the Leper Butterflies” č un altro bel pezzo tirato in cui continua il dualismo tra il growling e le clean vocals, prima che a mettersi in mostra siano questa volta gli assoli di Benjamin Baret e il basso di Brendan Brown. Mi manca solo di citare il fantasioso drumming di Nelson Barnes e la ritmica possente e nervosa di Matt Klavins, cosi non faccio un torto a nessuno. E andiamo avanti perché un triste violino apre “Forget Not”, altra song del “passato”, altro tuffo al cuore, altra cascata di emozioni che riempiono la mia testa di splendide vibrazioni. Ma come puň la musica dare tutto questo piacere, queste tangibili sensazioni, questo senso di smarrimento e di immediato ritrovarsi. La musica penetra il cervello e da li inizia il tutto; e in questa traccia i nostri danno il meglio del meglio della loro proposta che travalica ogni definizione di genere. La musica dei Ne Obliviscaris č totale. Inutile negarlo. Sciocchi quelli che non provano neppure ad avvicinarsi perché spaventati da una parvenza di estremitŕ. Questa č musica che riempie l’anima, musica suonata col cuore, musica che mi rende felice e triste al tempo stesso, musica per cui una volta avrei anche potuto dare 100, il massimo, ma solo il fatto che io mi possa aspettare un lavoro ancor migliore la prossima volta me lo impedisce. Vogliamo parlare della paradisiaca “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope” il cui titolo dice in effetti tutto: un caleidoscopio di colori, aromi che popolano l’aria e suoni che si agitano nell’etere. Non posso farne a meno, questa č la terra promessa e i Ne Obliviscaris il messia che attendevo da molto tempo, da una vita… L’album definitivo, che trova il modo di calare altre due splendide manifestazioni di se stesso, con le rimanenti due spettacolari tracce di un pathos grandioso, che trovano il modo di chiudere una release unica nel suo genere, di grande impatto, forza, melodia, compostezza, intelligenza, aggressivitŕ, fierezza e chissŕ quante altre cose potremo scoprire nell’ascoltare “Portal of I”. Ne Obliviscaris, la via verso il paradiso o la perdizione totale? Per me la via per soddisfare il piacere dell’anima. (Francesco Scarci)
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Old May 16th, 2012, 07:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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NE OBLIVISCARIS - Portal Of I
3/6

Pojęcie „metalu progresywnego” pozostaje dla mnie od lat czymś nie do końca jasnym. Wynika to zapewne z faktu, że sam bardzo cenię sobie rock progresywny. Ten gatunek, który rozkwit przeżywał na początku lat siedemdziesiątych, stawiał sobie za cel wyznaczanie nowych szlaków muzycznych. Zespoły takie jak YES, GENESIS czy KING CRIMSON tworzyły długie, rozbudowane formalnie kompozycje, eksperymentując z formą, jak i treścią. Czemu o tym piszę? Bo NE OBLIVISCARIS reklamuje się jako „metal progresywny”. I tu jest pies pogrzebany... Wspomniane wyżej grupy miały masę naśladowców, którzy również określali się mianem „progresywnych”, mimo że ograniczyli się do kopiowania tego, co stworzyli ich mistrzowie, tworząc muzykę de facto regresywną. Kapele metalowe, które wpisały się w ten nurt, w większości nie poszły wiele dalej. Widać to wyraźnie na krążku „Portal Of I”. NE OBLIVISCARIS, choć to zespół niemłody (powstał w 2003), to dopiero teraz wydał swój pierwszy album, który nosi wszelkie cechy typowe dla debiutów - czuć tu pasję, chęć grania i pokazania tego, co się potrafi. Nic w tym złego, oczywiście, gdyby nie jeden feler - brak samoograniczenia. Panowie, zapewne zachwyceni tym, że ktoś postanowił w nich zainwestować, uparli się, że upchną na tę płytę wszystko, co się tylko da, nagrają krążek, który zrewolucjonizuje metal, a im zapewni miejsce wśród tytanów gatunku. Jasne, od marzeń do rzeczywistości droga jednak daleka. Już odpalenie „Portal Of I” w odtwarzaczu przynosi wiadomość o tym, że płyta NE OBLIVISCARIS cierpi na tzw. „chorobę CD”. Polega ona na tym, że te magiczne osiemdziesiąt minut pojemności kusi, by wykorzystać je w pełni. Jakimś cudem wymienione na początku recenzji zespoły nie miały problemów z nagrywaniem kamieni milowych gatunku, które trwały po czterdzieści - pięćdziesiąt minut. Nie byłoby to jednak problemem, gdyby ten czas wypełniało coś ciekawego. Tymczasem muzycznie NE OBLIVISCARIS prezentuje się tak sobie. Widać, że chłopaki potrafią grać, mają masę pomysłów i nie chcą trzymać się szablonów i schematów. Świetnie, ale przy tym wszystkim brakuje tu wyraźnie paru ważnych elementów. Większość zawartych na albumie „Portal Of I” kompozycji to rzeczy długie, trwające po osiem-dwanaście minut. Utwory są rozbudowane i urozmaicone - ciężkie wejścia gitar i death metalowy kop towarzyszą blackowym lub i nawet czystym wokalom. Growling sąsiaduje z radośnie pląsającymi na irlandzką nutę skrzypcami. Gitarowa galopada przechodzi w nastrojowe zwolnienia. Największym zarzutem, jaki mogę postawić „Portal Of I”, jest marna jakość kleju, którym połączono te wszystkie elementy. Poszczególne fragmenty tego krążka wypadają nieźle, niektórych słucha się naprawdę fajnie. Gorzej, że utwory sprawiają w większości wrażenie, jakby wzięto dwie - trzy kompozycje, zebrano je w całość i zrobiono z nich jedną. Nie przekonuje mnie to. Łączyć pozornie sprzeczne elementy też trzeba umieć, a nie każdy potrafi robić to z takim wdziękiem, jak np. YES. Płyta „Portal Of I” powinna była być o jakąś jedną trzecią krótsza. Bo, mimo generalnie pozytywnego nastawienia z mojej strony, w pewnej chwili poczułem nudę. NE OBLIVISCARIS bawi się tymi samymi klockami w każdym utworze, przestawiając je tylko w innej kolejności. Zachwyceni własnym rzemiosłem i pomysłami, chłopcy nie starają się nawet, aby ich kompozycje zapisały się w pamięci słuchacza. Po kilkakrotnym przesłuchaniu „Portal Of I” nie został mi w głowie ani jeden dźwięk, ani jeden utwór. Muzyka jednym uchem wleciała, drugim wyleciała. Nie spisywałbym jednak zespołu NE OBLIVISCARIS na straty. Słychać, że panowie potencjał mają i że coś ciekawego z nich może być. Grupy OPETH czy ANATHEMA również zaczynały od mocno przeciętnego grania, by z czasem zajść całkiem wysoko. Nie prorokuję, że ci Australijczycy też tam zajdą - marny bowiem ze mnie Nostradamus. Ale kto ich wie? [Mirth]
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Old May 17th, 2012, 02:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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NE OBLIVISCARIS - Portal Of I
10/10

It begins with a rush of percussion, the pounding of hearts right before the rush of adrenaline..

What is it that makes a truly great album? Is it pounding riffs and driving drum lines? Is it soft melodies and strong dynamics? Is it powerful vocals and intelligent lyrics? Is it strength in diversity and composition?

The answer is no. While each of these vicissitudinous elements is fleetingly important (and of course seasoned to taste) they are not at the heart of this issue. What makes a truly great album, an album that you will never forget, an album that you will keep coming back to regardless of mood or temperament is feeling. It is the feeling that music is able to inject into its listener that has been the source of hairbrushes turning into microphones, thin air turning into guitars and metal crowds turning into headbanging, swirling pools of madness for as long as such things have been possible. It is this same feeling that makes Ne Obliviscaris something else.

Portal of I is absolutely intense from start to finish. Every moment of the album is engineered to grab the listener and just not let go. This is not music that will simply hold your attention- it is music that will completely enthral you, hold you in stunned rapture, for its entire 72 minutes, not letting go for even a second. The album is astoundingly diverse, yet no matter what the dynamic level is at any given moment, it is completely captivating. Whether it is the flamenco-style grooves swinging at the start of “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope”, the classical guitar and violin dancing together, constantly building over the course of 6+ minutes to form a majestic, melodic introduction to “Forget Not”, the unbelievably tight Gojira-style drumming pounding incessantly behind the strings or the gigantic Opeth-style walls of chords that will simply take your breath away, everything is constructed to be nothing short of heart-stopping. The constant interplay between these styles only serves to emphasise the energy pouring out of the songs.

If you thought the vocal performance on the band’s 2007 demo The Aurora Veil was impressive then Xenoyr and Tim Charles will completely blow you away on Portal of I. Xenoyr’s black metal hissing shrieks have improved dramatically from the demo (and this is coming from a reviewer that is not even a huge fan of black metal) and his overall range has expanded to also include a massive death metal roar that is used just as often and perfectly matches the intensity of the rest of the music. Tim Charles’ clean voice has reached unnerving levels of beauty- whether he is singing on his own or dancing a dynamic duet with Xenoyr, Charles’ haunting voice will send shivers down your spine. The album’s conclusion in particular is particularly profound, featuring only Charles’ voice dancing beautifully, hauntingly, over a very soft guitar line before gradually building the number of voices and incorporating a violin line to end the piece on a note as grandiose as the album deserves.

I have never given a perfect score before, and indeed I rarely give anything even close. To describe an album as perfect is to say ‘this album is faultless, I can find no flaw, no place to improve upon the quality of the sound, the composition or the style’, a truly rare thing to say of even the very best albums. But perfection is more than the absence of flaws, it is also about possessing that intangible something else, that extra little bit that pushes it from something you love listening to something that you cannot imagine now being absent from your life. The perfect album is something that will pick you up and take you somewhere else, the album against which all others much be compared only to inevitably fall short. With all that said, this decision was never in question.

It ends with a whisper, a murmur into infinity…
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Old May 17th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
4/5

Formatisi a Melbourne, Australia, nel 2003, i Ne Obliviscaris irrompono sulla scena musicale nel febbraio del 2006 ottenendo da subito ottimi riconoscimenti da parte della critica per il sound unico, dettato dalla versatilitŕ con cui i talentuosi musicisti che compongono la line up riescono ad attraversare i generi piů disparati. Le loro molteplici influenze spaziano infatti dal black al thrash, dal death al progressive, ma le incursioni non disdegnano — fra gli altri — il rock melodico, il jazz e persino il flamenco. Le loro composizioni di metal estremo, che superano spesso i dieci minuti di lunghezza, risultano talvolta molto tecniche e complesse; tuttavia, alternate a brani o sezioni d’impatto piů immediato, vanno a formare un tutt’uno equilibrato e omogeneo. L’uso del growl (piů raro lo scream) appaiato alla voce pulita e addirittura al violino, unitamente al gioco fra i generi, li rendono difficili da etichettare, dunque.

L’album di debutto ha perň visto la luce dopo alcuni anni di lunghe traversie causate dal mancato visto al chitarrista solista della band, che si č ritrovato costretto a tornare in Francia, suo paese di origine. A seguito di una battaglia di 13 mesi con il Dipartimento australiano per l'Immigrazione, nonché un appello per raccogliere firme da parte del settore musicale, nell’ottobre 2011 al musicista č stato infine concesso il visto a lungo termine per vivere e lavorare in Australia, ed ecco che la band č stata in grado di uscire con l’album.

Portal Of I č stato prodotto dal violinista (nonché interprete delle sezioni vocali ‘pulite’) Tim Charles, co-prodotto e curato da Troy McCosker ai Pony Music Studio di Melbourne, e mixato e masterizzato in Svezia ai Fascination Street Studios di Jens Bogren (Opeth, Ihsahn, Katatonia, Devin Townsend). Sette brani per quasi un’ora e un quarto di durata complessiva; lunghe sezioni strumentali, testi verbali oscuri, in cui tuttavia non si respira l'aria di 'negativitŕ' cara al black, semmai una sorta di paganesimo visionario, interpretabile a piacimento dell'ascoltatore. Uscito il 7 maggio scorso in Australia e atteso per l’11 giugno nel resto del mondo, arriverŕ in Italia grazie a code666 (Aural Music Group). Ma veniamo all’ascolto.

In Tapestry of the Starless Abstract, una mitragliata speed ci introduce a quello che con i suoi oltre 12 minuti č uno dei brani piů lunghi e complessi dell’intero lavoro. Una ‘arazzo’ di suoni e colori, atmosfere e valori ritmici sempre differenti; il prevedibile passaggio fra le sezioni piů ariose e distese, perlopiů guidate dalla chitarra solista, e quelle piů cupe e aggressive in growl (e scream) ben si affianca ad alternanze piů insolite come l’interludio progressivo della chitarra acustica e l’episodio jazz a opera del basso. Il tutto strutturato in modo consequenziale, come in una suite multi sezionata di rock progressivo.

Xenoflux, 10 minuti e rullata iniziale. Ci risiamo? No. L’atmosfera č completamente diversa. Le chitarre sono piů sporche, cosě come il violino, e il growl domina. Aggressiva e feroce, ossessiva ma non ripetitiva. Un ossimoro? Di nuovo no, dato che il tormento viene ogni volta proposto con un organico e idee diverse; a circa metŕ brano, quando la tensione si allenta, č per esempio un arpeggio di chitarra non in distorsione in mezzo al quale si intromette pian piano il violino a cullarci. Tanto che, quando nel finale l’organico si amplia di nuovo fino a portarci alla brusca conclusione, ci accorgiamo con sorpresa che i dieci minuti sono giŕ passati.

Of the Leper Butterflies: 5 minuti. Si parte con la jazz fusion. Stavolta non ci risiamo di sicuro. L’episodio spezza l’andamento del lavoro e concede qualche attimo di riposo fra la brutalitŕ precedente e quanto verrŕ. Dopo una prima parte soft interamente strumentale, il growl, l’elettrico e la velocitŕ ci vengono di nuovo sbattuti in faccia, pur mantenendosi su piani relativamente piů melodici, grazie al growl che resta sullo sfondo facendo quasi solo da accompagnamento alla voce pulita in primo piano. La terza parte riprende e quasi sovrappone in un’unica sezione i due ambienti evocati in precedenza.

Da qui in avanti sarŕ tutto di nuovo interminabile, ma non ce ne accorgeremo, sempre grazie alla contaminazione estrema fra generi. In Forget Not (a proposito, "ne obliviscaris": lat. "affinché tu non dimentichi"; "per non dimenticare), dopo un preludio della chitarra acustica e del violino, ci ritroviamo al limite col post grunge/alternative rock, dove a cantare perň rimane il violino; l’alternanza progressiva fra acustico ed elettrico ci porta fino a una sezione in cui il violino cede il posto alla voce pulita, che domina sul growl (fermi restando metal estremo e jazz che fanno capolino qua e lŕ, soprattutto nel finale). Sembrerebbe impossibile per un intrico simile, ma le melodie sono efficaci e orecchiabili a partire da un primo ascolto.

Un fraseggio mefistofelico di violino si appaia alla chitarra flamenco in And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope, mentre l’elettrico si combina alle soluzioni ritmiche piů disparate. Il growl e la voce pulita si intrecciano in maniera equilibrata (da sottolineare il fatto che la voce pulita ha timbriche eleganti e delicate, piacevolmente complementari a un growl mai monocorde, ma espressivo, e che qui, per esempio, scivola talvolta nello scream), lasciando cantare anche la chitarra solista, mentre quella ritmica sfoggia riff serrati e martellanti. As Icicles Fall č invece un brano di rock melodico che si sviluppa su tempi moderati, guidato dalla voce pulita, che piů avanti cresce in velocitŕ e ci rituffa in una miscela di violino e aggressivo growl (tengo comunque a precisare che gli sbalzi non sono mai stranianti ma l’impasto, pur se la forma non č definita, č uniforme).

Nel finale, Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise (il petricore č il profumo della pioggia sulla terra asciutta), tutto l’organico torna per salutarci in ogni sua molteplice sfumatura e soluzione, preferendo tuttavia — fatta eccezione per alcuni brevi inserti rapidissimi — valori ritmici poco sostenuti. In chiusura, addirittura un retrogusto di polifonia sacra. Un gioiello di brano che potrebbe configurarsi anche come ottimo biglietto da visita.

Una pecca dell’album avrebbe potuto risiedere nell’esigenza di ascoltare piů volte l’intero lavoro per essere compreso appieno, ma il ‘diverso’ incuriosisce cosě tanto da spingere istintivamente verso un nuovo ascolto. Consigliatissimo a chiunque sia convinto che l’unico futuro possibile per la musica sia la contaminazione estrema.

Io scommetto che prossimamente ne sentiremo molto parlare...
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Old May 17th, 2012, 06:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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http://heathenharvest.org/2012/05/17...s-portal-of-i/

Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
5/5

It might be bad form to admit this, but when I discovered Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris just a couple of weeks ago at time of writing, I wanted to be blown away. Their band name is a Latin phrase meaning “lest we forget,” although the meaning itself is less significant than the fact that I felt compelled to look it up; their song titles and lyrics are all inscrutable, ellipsis-packed abstract poetry; virtually all of their tracks exceed nine minutes in length; their album cover art looks like a cross between a kaleidoscopic DMT hallucination and the end boss of a Final Fantasy game. Though Portal of I is their debut album, the sextet have maintained a pretty robust cult fanbase ever since the release of their three-song demo, The Aurora Veil, way back in 2007. In short, Ne Obliviscaris are exactly the kind of band I like: a band with a nebulous but overpowering sense of significance, a cult phenomenon in the making, who write huge, elaborate, progressive songs draped in all sorts of cryptic, mysterious imagery, whose albums are talking points amongst those who are “in the know.” I confess I enjoy jumping on brand new bandwagons. I probably derive a bit too much pleasure from being present at the birth of the next big thing, and it skews my judgement more than it should at times. It’s a character flaw, and I acknowledge that, but nevertheless, there you have it; when I went into Portal of I, it was with an attitude of “awesome-until-proven-otherwise.”

Having done my best to accommodate for whatever biases I may have then: Portal of I is a masterpiece, and anyone who considers themselves any kind of a metal fan owes it to themselves to listen to it as soon as possible.

This is the sort of album which sounds like all of the planets aligned for it, where everything somehow went right. Ne Obliviscaris exhibit a monumentally ambitious authorial vision and back it up with mature and capable songwriting, a sterling production job courtesy of Jens Bogren, and most importantly, six impeccably skilled musicians working as a tightly regimented unit. Progressive black metal works well enough as a generic classification, and the long running times of the 71-minute album’s seven tracks (even the runt of the litter, Of the Leper Butterflies, clocks in at just under six minutes long) will elicit the usual inevitable comparisons to Opeth and Agalloch, the twin titans of extreme prog, albeit not without merit in this case. Certainly, Ne Obliviscaris seem to be shooting for the same territory as those two touchstone acts, with similarly dense, heavily wrought instrumentation and winding, unhurried song structures featuring long breaks dominated by clean or acoustic guitar, which develop organically even as they obfuscate their eventual destination. It’s certainly hard not to think of Opeth at the finger-picked acoustic lines in the middle of Tapestry of the Starless Abstract, or of Agalloch at the autumnal chords which open Forget Not.

The Agallopeth comparison only gets you so far however; for one thing, neither of those bands have ever sounded quite this kinetic, this propulsive, this downright metal. This is in large part thanks to the staggering bombardment laid down by drummer Dan Presland, whose match for sheer relentlessness I’d be hard pressed to name, which stands to reason. In 2006, Presland was the Australian finalist in the World’s Fastest Drummer Competition, at which he was awarded the title of the Fastest Feet in Australia. The guy is literally one of the fastest double bass drummers on the planet, and this is well represented on Portal of I in his superhumanly protracted periods of double kick and super-fast blasting, which he nevertheless manages to channel appropriately, reigning in the speed when necessary. If there’s anything that makes me slightly apprehensive for the future of Ne Obliviscaris, it’s that Presland has quit the band since Portal of I was recorded. Not to imply any lack of faith in his successor, Nelson Barnes, but I find it difficult to believe that Presland’s performance – one of the magnetic I’ve heard on an extreme metal record, right alongside Tomas Corn on Lykathea Aflame’s Elvenefris and Flo Mounier on Cryptopsy’s None so Vile – could be easily replicated.

Not that the other band members are exactly coasting when it comes to making Portal of I an intense listen, mind you. Matt Klavins and Benjamin Baret bring a fully stocked arsenal of lush, melodically inclined but nevertheless furious riffs. The full spectrum of extreme progressive metal is well represented, from the jagged, decidedly Opeth-esque stop/start chord progressions at the climax of Forget Not, to the blizzard-like tremolo-picked riffs on Tapestry of the Starless Abstract in the vein of classic melodic black metal like Dissection or Sacramentum, and the nimble, flitting Gothenburg tinged lines which open As Icicles Fall. All these, and many more, and all executed with aplomb and refinement, a cavalcade of delights and surprises for the listener. And the solos! Those are in rampant abundance too, pure melodic ear candy. Vocalist Xenoyr is no slouch either, alternately belting out guttural death-grunts and full-bodied black metal shrieks with equal ferocity.

Gracious, I’m 800 words in and all I’ve spoken about so far is what makes Portal of I a capable recitation of metal conventions; shame on me, because it’s more than that. So much more. Metal thrashing madness, however well they do it, is only one of the cards Ne Obliviscaris holds. Even while Presland, Klavins and Baret are operating at full speed, at no point is the instrumentation anything less than three-dimensional, weaving and spiralling through complex harmonic relationships in endlessly intriguing ways. Portal of I is the very definition of a headphone album, one which reveals its nuances with repeated listens. Brendan Brown’s bass gets a large share of the credit here, having a presence entirely distinct from (yet interwoven with) the guitars, adding another layer to the instrumentation and giving the album a warmer, more spacey feel. Speaking as a (highly amateur) bassist myself, I appreciated the cascading bass line on Of the Leper Butterflies and I took an entirely dorky delight at the use of the use of harmonics (an underused technique in metal, wherein a sound with a clear, ringing timbre is produced on a bass guitar by plucking a string while very lightly touching a precise point at the divide between frets with the fretting hand) in Xenoflux.

By far Ne Obliviscaris’ most interesting gambit, however, is the inclusion of Tim Charles’ violin on practically an even footing with the guitars. There are plenty of metal bands who incorporate violin into their sound, either as part of an orchestral backdrop or on its own, but there aren’t many who afford it such prominence, let alone integrate it so wholly into their melodic latticework that it seems as though it always should have been there to begin with. And sure enough, it’s Charles who frequently gives Ne Obliviscaris that extra push from excellence into outright genius. His quivering vibrato notes lend the album a brittle, beautiful crystalline quality, an exquisite, erudite melancholy. Charles also contributes the record’s clean vocals, which he delivers with a slightly nasal intonation, but also a pleasant smoothness and clarity with a slightly shoegaze-ish vibe, which might speak to an awareness of French acts like Alcest or Amesoeurs. It makes for a fine counterpoint to Xenoyr’s guttural performance. Charles ensures that there remains a discernible and relatable humanity to Portal of I, even when the arrangements are at their most byzantine and Presland is enacting violations of the Geneva Convention against his kit.

I could ramble all day about the constituent elements of Portal of I; it’s an album where so much is going on that it’s difficult to know where to start, when around every corner lurks yet another awesome vista of sound. What’s most remarkable about it though, is the extent to which all of these instruments, musicians, riffs, solos, melodies and divergent styles are marshalled in the service of the final product, an utterly colossal creation, and yet, somehow, coherent. For all that it swoops and dives and twists, it remains memorable and engaging. For all its meanderings and diversions into classical and folk influenced territory, it’s absolutely never boring. For all that it draws upon a dozen different obvious touchstones and influences, it also transcends them, using them as a foothold to blaze trails into new and exciting territory. It’s an enigmatic, mysterious, invigorating and exhilarating album, one which, even at 71 minutes, is continually morphing for the entirety of its runtime, constantly unlocking new potentialities in its DNA. It represents exactly the kind of innovation metal needs right now. While so much of the genre is content to relive the glories of the 80’s or pursue lateral movement into gimmickry and genre hybridisation, Ne Obliviscaris are one of a select few demonstrating that my favourite style of music has a future of its own if it chooses to embrace it. A few days before writing this, the band announced that they were signing to Code 666 Records, who will now be distributing Portal of I outside Australia. I may have been eager to jump on this bandwagon, but I’m glad I did, because this bandwagon’s going to interesting places, and it’s gathering speed.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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http://www.cvltnation.com/portal-of-...scaris-review/

Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I

Good things come to those who wait, supposedly. Melbourne’s progressive melodic black metallers, Ne Obliviscaris’ debut album has been in gestation for the best part of five years. 2007’s lengthy three track demo, “The Aurora Veil”, laid down a solid, and even at times astounding, foundation with their expansive violin laden passages draped over towering Opeth and later Enslaved-like riffing. However, an overwhelming amount of issues plagued the release of “Portal of I”, originally meant for release in 2008, then in 2009, then in 2010… you get the idea. From family tragedies to members leaving to (French born) guitarist Benjamin Baret being deported back to France due to visa issues, Ne Obliviscaris have certainly had a rough time of it. Thankfully, Portal of I is an enthralling fruit of their labour, overall.

The three songs of the demo have been re-recorded, and a few minor alterations have been made, other than having a much more lush production. Some of the changes are questionable but for the most part, the band has retained its verve. “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract”, which opened the demo, suitably opens this album and in many ways encapsulates all of Ne Obliviscaris’ strengths, with searing black metal screeches from lead vocalist Xenoyr and violinist/clean vocalist Tim Charles closing out the song with his near-operatic wail.

Much of the melody and blissful passages mean it’s a stretch to even call Ne Obliviscaris black metal anymore but they’re certainly still coming from that school of thought. A song like “Xenoflux” is simmering with equal measures of caustic aggression and lush melody. Sustaining these two conflicting elements so beautifully within one song, always flowing to a logical conclusion, is probably the band’s greatest strength. This band gets the prog label thrown at them, but this is an album that is actually quite progressive, as you can truly hear the progression this band has made as song writers from the demo to the album.

They’ve utilised some folky elements to superb effect in various moments, adding just another interesting layer to their oeuvre and by album closer, “Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise” have truly made an impact and suitably round off the album is stunningly climactic fashion.

At 71 minutes, these Australians have sculpted out a vast album for their first and it seems appropriate given the length of time it took and expectations that had mounted. It’s not perfect of course, but nothing is, and the band can safely breathe a sigh of relief in the wake of “Portal of I”’s release. Just don’t take five years for the next one, please.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 07:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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http://www.heavyblogisheavy.com/2012...s-portal-of-i/

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
Rating: 4.5/5

Black metal is quickly evolving from a one-off listen to a personal favorite of mine. There is just something about its music that entrances me, something other-worldly. I also happen to like its distant nature, by which I mean its ability to still sound heavy without downtuning a guitar. Take the first Mayhem record; standard tuning, but some of the heaviest songs I have ever heard. I also really enjoy some more relaxing non-metal acts, such as The Mars Volta and even (yes, true story) Dave Matthews Band. Part of what attracts me to both is not only their versatility, but their sometimes shocking surprises.

Ne Obliviscaris, Latin for “Lest We Forget”, are quickly ascending the ranks into the newfound joy of modern black metal and extreme prog. Alongside bands like Agalloch, Krallice, Alcest and Enslaved, these guys bring forth their own style of black metal and work to push the genre forward, but add one twist that I absolutely love: they have a fiddle. Yes, a violin, which, in retrospect, isn’t very alien to the genre. Many acts have used the instrument to create a more orchestral and folk-like feel to the music. However, in Ne Obliviscaris, the band uses it as more of an accent, not in a symphonic way. They utilize the instrument in a way that almost sounds like folk music, instead of long sequences of notes on top of heavy guitars, it does some tasteful solos and parts that most people would never hear in black metal, let alone any heavy metal. It fits very well, actually, and while not always prominent, and not on every section of every song, it fits in very nicely where a little something extra is needed.

Rather than address particular songs, I want to talk about the whole album, because that’s how Portal of I is meant to be viewed. While the songs don’t necessarily combine to flow like BTBAM‘s Colors, they are all connected in their own unique way; with each new song, it feels as if it picks up where the last song stopped. While ‘And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope’ is my favorite song from this release, there are no bad songs at all. Each track is rich with different layers, and there is always something going on — a turn that comes abruptly, a chord change, a rushing tremolo part — that just clicks naturally.

One of the other interesting elements was the incorporation of clean vocals into the music. Having clean vocals over black metal is ridiculous to some, but it fits perfectly when utilized across Portal of I. Agalloch was my introduction to this combination, and I think they were always able to do it in a very uncompromising, inoffensive way that fit with the music. Ne Obliviscaris continues that trend, with beautiful clean sections, sometimes intertwined with Xenoyr’s harsh vocals. It needs to be noted that Tim Charles, the clean vocalist, also plays the violin in the band, which I think is what enable him to constantly be an active member rather than only coming in when his violin solo arrives.

It’s hard to fault an album that is really so enjoyable, which is why I only have one: the song ‘Forget Not’ has too long of a build up. Other than that, this album is an immaculate piece of work from six talented Australians. Hopefully they will continue to produce such moving music, as this is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of the year. Highly recommended to any fan of black metal and extreme prog, or even just someone willing to let their ears hear something different and unique.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 09:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/4...s-Portal-of-I/

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I (Sputnik Review 2)
4.5/5

About a year ago, there was immense hype for Unexpect's latest album titled Fables of the Sleepless Empire, and I never quite understood why. The grandiosity was there, full-fledged in symphonic form. The prog noodling was there, quite extensively to say the least. And lo and behold, there were even quirky vocals to sate my progressive hunger. Yet it was a major letdown, all because of how grand it actually was. The ambition reduced the album to a collection of tracks that could never find their footing, and Unexpect fell into the pitfall that many progressive artists eventually do. This type of album is what I was expecting to hear when I heard about Ne Obliviscaris, for the hype seemed to overexaggerate on every level and be premature. However, it's safe to say that Portal of I is the type of album I was looking for in Fables of the Sleepless Empire.

Portal of I looks like the damned cheesiest thing ever if you’re the sort to judge a book by its cover (I mention this because I know I absolutely did in this instance), and this mindset leads to a bit of unwarranted skepticism towards Ne Obliviscaris. Perhaps what’s most impressive about the group, though, is how they pull off a decent amount of cheese perfectly, incredibly tastefully. Yes, the album does match its cover perfectly. Only in the most magnificent of ways, though, and in the classiest. The band shows maturity on many levels; for instance, during moments where the songs' twists and turns are even approaching being stale, the music always takes a new direction entirely. Examples like these indicate why Ne Obliviscaris' debut full-length is such an exciting and engaging progressive release, one is a long journey but a rewarding one that flies by; and this immediate level of enjoyment is a true indication of what the genre is capable of when the brush is in the right artist’s hands.

Ne Obliviscaris have created an album that’s diverse on many levels, incorporating the atmospherics of black metal whilst never neglecting the technical proficiencies of the progressive movement. The vocals are also perfectly diverse, switching from growls to shouts, from croons to shrieks to fit whatever’s necessary. And one common characteristic of many progressive groups is the inability to write a cohesive song (mandatory BTBAM comparison, etc.), but here each and every song stands out on its own as a certifiable movement. Each track bolsters impact, and knows exactly how it aims to shake the ground below its listener. However, while they're all entities of their own they collectively share key instincts that make the album as incredibly cohesive as it is. While each track is perhaps 9 minutes on average, they never feel unnecessarily bloated - each moment comes across as if it had been carefully calculated, blueprinted on multiple score sheets. The balance between proficiency and emotion deserves to be mentioned as well, seeing as the album features some of the craziest instrumentation I've ever heard, and is still one of the most emotional albums I know. The guitar solos are written in context of the song, and this benefits the album greatly. The mature stance taken on songwriting, as well as the overarching sense of class, ensures that Portal of I will have a long lifespan in the progressive metal realm, and perhaps even the black metal one. They will only grow more potent, and their next release will be even crazier.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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http://www.chuckingamosh.com/2012/05...-obliviscaris/

NE OBLIVISCARIS – PORTAL OF I
Rating: 26/28


Since the dawn of time man has looked up and the sky at the stars and been intrigued. This intrigue soon lead to the great space race to see who could stick a man on the moon first, and blew our minds when it actually happened. Once this happened things got a bit silly with a few guys trying to play a bit of golf, and getting about on some crazy buggies all around the place. Having now claimed ownership of the moon, man is now out to reach more planets across the galaxy to claim as their own, but the distance we need to travel to make this happen is holding us back. I remember when I was a young, we were always promised teleporting machines in the near future, but like many people, I am sitting at home disappointed that this still hasn’t happened. Imagine the money you would save on petrol once a series of time portals open up across the world, and universe. Now we have blown your mind with the possibilities teleportation will bring, it’s now time to have your mind blown in a completely different way by introducing you to the amazing new album from Melbourne metal veterans, Ne Obliviscaris.

Ne Obliviscaris are in no way a new band. These guys have been working hard to perfect their craft for around nine years now, and while there has been significant downtime in that period, it has all been worth the wait to hear their long awaited debut album. Clocking in at around 72 minutes, don’t think that for a second that you are going to loose interest with this album. Ripping straight into things from the first track, this album is an experience, and one very worth spending the time to listen to. Enforcing their own take on progressive metal, Ne Obliviscaris are not your average metal band. Combining highly technical guitar and drum work with the beauty of the violin, these guys have forged out their own heavily European influenced sound that will set them apart from most bands across the world. While Portal of I may only contain seven tracks, almost all of them clock in at around the ten minute mark and take you on a journey that will captivate even the harshest of critics.

The word ‘Epic’ is thrown around a lot these days, but in my time writing reviews, I don’t think there has been a band more deserving of that title. This album has everything. From the shredding guitars, to the blast beats, to the violin and and clean singing sections, this is one hell of an album. The bands song writing abilities cannot be questioned, and to top things off, the live show Ne Obliviscaris unleash on their fans is a whole other experience that every fan of the band deserves to witness for themselves. While Portal of I has left an mpact on us, now we only hope that we don’t have to wait another nine years for the bands next album.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 09:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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http://www.thealtreview.net/2012/05/...s-portal-of-i/

NE OBLIVISCARIS – PORTAL OF I
Rating: 4/5

About a year ago, there was immense hype for Unexpect’s latest album titled Fables of the Sleepless Empire (2011), and I never quite understood why. The grandiosity was there, full-fledged in symphonic form. The Proggy noodling was there, quite extensively to say the least. Lo and behold, there were even quirky vocals to sate my progressive hunger. Yet it was a major letdown, all because of how grand it actually was. The ambition reduced the album to a collection of tracks that could never find their footing, and Unexpect fell into the pitfall that many Progressive artists eventually do. This type of album is what I was expecting to hear when I heard about Ne Obliviscaris, for the hype seemed to over exaggerate on every level. However it is safe to say that Portal of I is the type of album I was looking for in Fables of the Sleepless Empire.

Portal of I looks like the damned cheesiest thing ever if you are the sort to judge a book by its cover (I mention this because I did), and this mindset leads to a bit of unwarranted skepticism towards Ne Obliviscaris. Perhaps what is most impressive about the group is how they pull off a decent amount of cheese incredibly tastefully. Yes, the album does match its cover perfectly. Only in the most magnificent of ways, though, and in the classiest. The band shows maturity on many levels; for instance, during moments where the song’s twists and turns are even approaching being stale, the music always takes a new direction entirely. Examples like these indicate why Ne Obliviscaris’ debut full-length is such an exciting and engaging progressive release, a long journey but a rewarding one that seemingly flies by; and this immediate level of enjoyment is a true indication of what the genre is capable of when the brush is in the right artist’s hands.

Ne Obliviscaris have created an album that is diverse on many levels, incorporating the atmospherics of Black Metal whilst never neglecting the technical proficiencies of the progressive movement. The vocals are also perfectly diverse, switching from growls to shouts, from croons to shrieks to fit whatever is necessary. One common characteristic of many progressive groups is the inability to write a cohesive song but each and every song on Portal of I stands out on its own as a certifiable movement. Each track bolsters impact, and knows exactly how it aims to shake the ground below its listener. However, while they are all entities of their own they collectively share key instincts that make the album as incredibly cohesive as it is. While each track is perhaps nine minutes on average, they never feel unnecessarily bloated – each moment comes across as if it had been carefully calculated, blueprinted on multiple score sheets. The balance between proficiency and emotion deserves to be mentioned as well, seeing as the album features some extremely distinct instrumentation that sacrifices none of the records inherent frantic emotion. The guitar solos are written in context of the song, and the album benefits greatly. The mature stance taken on songwriting as well as the overarching sense of class ensures that Portal of I will have a long lifespan in the Progressive Metal realm and perhaps even the Black Metal one. They will only grow more potent, and it is undeniable that their next release will be even crazier.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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http://www.nocleansinging.com/2012/0...s-portal-of-i/

NE OBLIVISCARIS – PORTAL OF I

Five years. Five very long years have passed since the release of Ne Obliviscaris’ impressive 3-song demo, The Aurora Veil, one of the most polished demos I’ve ever heard. The impressive mix of black, death, and progressive metal displayed there had me yearning for more, and finally, the band have released Portal Of I. The album features the three tracks from the demo (re-recorded, albeit very faithfully to the originals) and four new songs, all of which fit together perfectly to create one of the year’s best progressive metal albums.

Musically, Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for “lest we forget”) bear certain similarities to Ihsahn’s solo work as well as Enslaved’s more recent material, but that comparison doesn’t really do the band justice, because they don’t really sound a great deal like either band. There is the basic framework of black metal, with scads of lightning-fast double-kick drumming (courtesy of drummer Daniel “Mortuary” Presland, who has previously been named as the Fastest Feet in Australia) and tremolo-picked riffs, along with the throaty roar of vocalist Xenoyr, but that’s only part of the story.

For starters, there’s the interplay of guitarists Benjamin Baret (leads) and Matt Klavins. Baret and Klavins play off one another almost constantly, with Klavins generally laying down base riffs and Baret providing counter-melodies and lead flourishes. There’s the clean vocals and violins, both performed ably by Tim Charles, who adds another layer of melody alongside Baret and Klavins. And then there’s bassist Brendan “Cygnus” Brown, whose work on the low end isn’t limited to simply following the riffs. Brown makes sure that his bass plays as much a role as the other instruments, allowing him to add to the sonic tapestry while still maintaining the foundation of the songs. And the aforementioned Mr. Presland does an excellent job keeping things interesting, no small thing when most of his beats are over the top of his ever-present double-kick.

The album’s new tunes, as I mentioned before, fit perfectly with the already-familiar old songs, and I see that as a sign that this band are already confident in their sound. Ne Obliviscaris maintain a lot of what they initially did with The Aurora Veil on Portal Of I, with extensive song lengths (with the exception of ‘Of The Leper Butterflies’, the songs all clock in around 10-12 minutes long) and excellent use of quiet, introspective passages to provide variety. The album is not something that you can really listen to in small pieces, as a result; to properly experience it, you’d be best suited listening to it as a whole. There are a lot of subtle intricacies that aren’t necessarily apparent on first listen, and that’s one of the album’s greatest strengths. It’s a tribute to the band’s musicianship that I’m still discovering new wrinkles every time I listen, even with the songs that were on the demo.

If there is anything to the album’s detriment, it’s that I’m having trouble finding specific portions of the album that really stand out. There are little melodies here and there, guitar leads and bass flourishes that do occasionally stand out in my mind, but even now, I can’t really identify them until they happen. It’s a product of the album’s expansive scope, really, which is fine with me anyway… I’m one of those people who prefers to listen to albums as a whole instead of single tracks. But it’s also a product of the entire album being this good, which is also fine with me. In a year that promises progressive new albums from the aforementioned Ihsahn and Enslaved, as well as the already-released Diablo Swing Orchestra and Sigh albums, Ne Obliviscaris have come through with an unforgettable album of their own. Five years? It was worth the wait.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 07:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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http://www.killyourstereo.com/review...s-portal-of-i/

NE OBLIVISCARIS – PORTAL OF I
Rating: 90/100

Australia's standing as a mere footnote in the geographics of heavy metal needs a stern re-working. To say that Australian metal is inferior is now grossly misguided and sadly disproportionate.

Sure, when you associate black metal you think of Scandinavia and when you think of thrash your mind gravitates to the Bay Area. But, domestically speaking we are seeing locals offer impressive, unique and now innovative releases worthy of a similar acclaim.

It's this 'have your cake and eat it too' idea that presents the listeners with international quality sounds but delivered by locally produced artists.

As far as a debut studio album, 'Portal of I' is long awaited. Five years since Ne Obliviscaris' three track demo is a significant gap. While, a tedious, ongoing (and now resolved) Visa battle regarding French-born guitarist Benjamin Baret has only added to the various sub-plots surrounding the eventual release. Fortunately, the quality and final product has not been affected adversely in anyway.

'Portal of I' sounds like it's spawned directly from the icy and cavernous surrounds of Norway or Sweden. It's part black metal, part prog and in other moments just simply metal.

'And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope', at eleven and a half minutes, packs everything in. Half-way through things get memorable when the rhythm builds to a crescendo before transitioning into a riff/double kick pairing that almost has the feel of Metallica's 'One' to it. 'Forget Not' is one of the highlights, with a harmonic beginning showcasing violinist/singer Tim Charles's vocal range. 'Xenoflux' is the heaviest track on the full-length along with opener 'Tapestry of the Starless Abstract'.

There's no handouts or token acclaim here. This review could simply present itself as a blank canvas with a sole link to the band's music and nothing else. You can hype 'Portal of I' or you can quietly downplay it, the response will still be the same. This is a brilliantly concise, evocative release that delivers across the board - compositionally, structurally and production-wise.

There's intensity tempered by balance. Complexity levelled by simplicity. And, quality aligned with accessibility. 'Portal of I' just seems to work whichever way you look (or listen) to it.

CONCLUSION:
Ne Oblivisicaris present an album that justifies early praise and should serve as representation of a band doing things the right way. Perhaps it's an entirely subjective and early call, but this is one of, if not, the Australian metal album of the year.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 09:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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NE OBLIVISCARIS - Portal Of I
Rating: 10/10

This band and album really came out of nowhere and made me realize how many gems are well hidden.

You have to listen to believe the perfection this album contains. It is a rare blend of progressive and atmospheric death and black metal, which doesn't sound unique at first but as each song progresses (in their 10 minute durations) you are amazed at how rich they are, how many elements they combine and how masterfully this is achieved. What you find in this album is EMPEROR's chaos and complexity of their last albums, OPETH's riffs and rhythms, THE SINS OF THY BELOVED's haunting violin (does anyone remember this band?), DEATH's technicality and NILE's atmospheric use of the classical guitar. I believe this has never been done before in this degree of excellence, so I have no choice but give the highest grade.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 06:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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http://www.angrymetalguy.com/ne-obli...l-of-i-review/

Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I
Rating: 4.5/5

Some parts black metal, most parts symphonic rock, and overall beautifully narrative in nature, the debut full-length studio album from Australia’s underground favourites Ne Obliviscaris is finally released and lives up to the pre-release hype surrounding it. Apart from the plausible Opeth reference in this band’s heavy emphasis on the design of the alphabet ‘O’ in their logo, the next thing that stands out most is their Matrix-ish acronym, NeO. Unlike Keanu Reeves’ stiff-faced “Neo” however, the NeO we have here very obviously have feelings and musical facial muscles with which to display them. Sweet, sweeeeet melancholy will drip all over your head and seep into your skull through all seven facial orifices to induce 700% brain-gasm as you immerse yourself in the music’s exquisite sorrow, and you’ll have to constantly remind yourself that the excellent gentlemen behind such a feat are still independent and lack support from any major extreme metal labels. One thing NeO could have picked up from Neo, though, is the hippie art of plastering shades to their eyes regardless of whether the Sun is out in the sky. Then all that’s left is for each band member to snarl like Agent Smith and show off their sparkling white teeth, and the band will have a much more interesting band photo.

Xenoyr’s frequently drawn-out growls go exceptionally well with Tim Charles’ sobbing violin (and at other times, Charles’ clean singing, like in the middle section of “Of The Leper Butterflies”), and the resulting mental image of an anguished face with tears streaking down its bruised cheeks will connect with the lonely inner self on a molecular level. Charles’ skill with his violin is evident from how versatile he can be, switching from melancholic melodies to slightly more upbeat ones (as heard in the first 1/5 of “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope”) every now and then. He does more than just providing the “symphonic” in “symphonic rock” by actually displaying Classical violin skills with his fluid, scalar solos and consistent, technically proficient accompaniment during his non-solo moments—a trait rarely found in your everyday violinist in your everyday symphonic-something-wannabe band. The talented violinist doesn’t just stop there too, for he performs the role of clean vocalist as well, and does an excellent job at balancing out Xenoyr’s harsh vocals, resulting in a limited, but appropriate variety of vocal types to keep things interesting.

Harsh vocalist and clean-vocalist-cum-violinist aside, every other band member feels utterly vital as well. Be it Nelson Barnes’ captivating drumroll which kicks off the introductory track of “Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract”, Brendan “Cygnus” Brown’s prominent and “vocal” bass guitar line (as it should be in progressive metal), or Benjamin Baret and Matt Klavin’s brooding, mid-paced guitar solos, the overall musical arrangement of how each instrumental part communicates with the rest is intricately done while maintaining an ultimately musically-pleasing and fresh sound. A most excellent songwriting effort to say the least.

As you would probably expect from a progressive band that utilizes a lyrical violin musical line throughout, the music’s lyrics are typical nice-to-read poetry that makes you think you know less and less about the band’s real intentions behind spouting such profound literary expressions the more you read them—Socrates all over again here! Don’t you just love this whole philosophical hogwash of implying that knowledge becomes increasingly useless the more you attain it,when it is in the nature of knowledge itself to grant its beholders the desire to pursue more of it once they have had a taste of it? But yes, sarcasm intended or not, it is precisely for the love of such philosophical hogwash that one can blissfully and ignorantly appreciate such poetry without having to really care what the true intention(s) of the band’s lyricist(s) was/were, and just enjoy the fleeting flashes of surreal imagery that hop to mind as the power of the words are enhanced by the music. Coupled with the mystic and dark nature of Ne Obliviscaris’ music, the fantasy/sci-fi theme of the band’s lyrics creates an imaginary world quite unlike tame franchises such as Star Wars and John Carter, but something more akin to the modernly grim universe of Marvel’s Ultimate Thor.

If I really had to nitpick at something, it would be the dull interior layout design for the contents of the lyrics booklet (just plain black all the way with one band photo appearing exactly in the middle), and the extremely-hard-to-read text right at the end of it which sees the band thanking people and stuff (it feels too crammed on top of the fact that the text is puny and hard-to-read too… guys, don’t be so nice to everyone!). The front cover art may be beautifully enigmatic and in line with the poetically sci-fi nature of Ne Obliviscaris’ music and lyrics, and so is the possibly Opeth-inspired ‘O’ featured on the back cover which is made to look like the Moon on a light red night sky as well; but more effort could have been made for the visual design inside too. Nobody would like to bite into a tasty-looking apple with a caterpillar hidden within its moist flesh!
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Old May 26th, 2012, 07:17 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I
Rating: 9.5/10

A progresszív black metal nem mondható a legtradicionálisabb black szakágazatnak, főként, ha figyelembe vesszük, hogy az elmúlt 1,5-2 évben végbemenő – még viszonylag kicsinek, közepesnek számító – hipster black metal vonulat is bőven elébe tudott lépni. A főként az Enslaved, az Ihsahn, a Krallice, a Borknagar, a Kathaarsys stb. által képviselt progresszív vonal így érezhetően mintha kezdene megkopni, s régi fényét kezdi elveszteni nem csak az idő, de a népszerűség próbáján is a black rajongói között, egyfajta triviális probléma látszatát keltve. A színtér ezért nem véletlenül kiáltott vérfrissítésért, a legnagyobb megmozdulást pedig egyértelműen a Ne Obliviscaris felbukkanása jelentette, akik 2007-ben megjelent három számos demó felvételükkel fanfavorit zenekarrá nőtték ki magukat, a remegő térdeknek azonban sajnos 2012-ig várniuk kellett, hogy a zenekar végül nagylemezen is bemutatkozzon. A Portal of I pedig jött, látott és győzött, megkockáztatom, hogy a srácok lerakták az asztalra az elmúlt évek egyik legjobb metal lemezét, black metalban biztosan. Talán csak a Der Weg Einer Freihet tavalyi dallamos black metal dalcsokra tudja megközelíteni a Ne Obliviscaris által generált epikus atmoszférát a black metal minőségében.

Amióta az Opeth a progresszív metal színtér egyik ünnepelt zenekarává lépett elő, könnyen kijelenthetjük, hogy rengeteg víz lefolyt már a Dunán, s megközelítőleg az Enslaved lett a kiindulási alap progresszív black metalban (plusz ehhez a tézishez a Wolves in the Throne Room és a Mirrorthrone is felkapaszkodott) köszönhetően az olyan alaplemezeknek, mint a Vikingligr veldi, a Frost, a Below the Lights vagy az Isa, két éve pedig az Axioma Ethica Odinivel taroltak kritikailag. Az észak-európai (értsd: norvég, svéd, illetve kicsit délebbre dán) black hangzásvilág, epikus atmoszféra alapjaiban határozta meg a progresszív black metal kultúrát, hiszen a műfajok szinteződése svéd oldalról leginkább a progresszív (azért itt volt egy black mozgalmi úttörő Bathory is), norvég oldalról pedig a tisztán black műfaji hagyományok tematikus témakezelésében nyert teret. A norvég black metal színtér ténylegesen olyan domináns volt, hogy talán egy fölöslegesnek is mondható rivalizálás tört ki közte és a svéd death metal színtér között. Mindenesetre a black metal második hulláma (Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal, Enslaved, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Gorgoroth, Ulver stb.), valamint a Bathory diktálta leginkább azokat a műfaji hagyományokat, amelyeknek a kibontását most ismerjük, s amely mondhatni meghasonlott az atmoszféra tengelyén a post-rock, shoegaze stb. által, de ezek már új műfaji vívmányok. Ami ténylegesen fontos, az pedig az, hogy az Opeth és társai elég jelentős hatást gyakoroltak arra a kezdeményezésre, amely már az Enslaved munkásságában is megvolt: a progresszív témakezelés, burjánzó ötletgarnitúra komplex kompózíciós technikával, elnyújtott, hörgő merengések, változó ütemidő, aktív tremolózás, mélabús hangulat, fájdalom és elszigeteltség a négyzeten. De valahogy sosem tudott igazán kilépni a medréből az elképzelés, hiszen a black önmagában elég szűk mozgástér (nem véletlenül lett kitalálva pl. a blackgaze (Alcest), vagy ott a screamo/black/post-rock (Deafheaven) is, a hipszterségről nem is beszélve), a progresszív vonal pedig ennek éppen az ellentéte: lehetőség nyílik latin, kiterjesztett akusztikus, de akár olykor keleties hangzásvilág kölcsönzésére is. Talán ez volt az ausztrál Ne Obliviscaris legnagyobb fegyverténye akkor, amikor megjelent a színtéren: talán ők játszották a legszínesebben, s a legszerteágazóbban a progresszív black metalt olyan művészi ambíciók mellett, hogy akár Anathema bakeliteket is vizionálhatnánk a próbatermükbe. A fiktív kép pedig valahogy mégis valósággá válik.

A The Aurora Veil című demó már tömören vázolta, hogy hogyan lehet valami elvontan brutális, de mégis gyönyörű: a koncepció alapvetően kimerült a (dallamos) black metal közegének a kibontásában, az elmúlt évek atmoszférikus leágazásait ők a progresszív tételkezeléssel cserélték, valamint szummázták azt, ahova a művészi hajlamnak tartania kellett, kikapták a hagyományokat a klaviatúrára és megadták a jól érzékelhető váltásoknak az instrumentális állomásokat. A Portal of I dalcsokrán pedig tökélyre fejlesztették azt a más dimenzióra kilépett fantasztikumot, amely annyira nem szintetikus és önelégült, hogy boldogan kimondhatjuk: a giccsesség faktort elzárták egy adekvát dobozba, s onnan a lemez végéig nem is szabadították ki, ettől lesz egy mestermű igazán tökéletes. Már a borítón a szemünkbe ötlik az Opeth előtti tisztelgés, hiszen az O kiemelése nem csak a bandát, de egyben tanárát is jelképezi. Rendkívül szép gesztus, egyfajta magasztos igényt is teremt, hiszen metodikus lekövetkezése annak, hogy a banda zenei térképe hogyan merít körkörösen az extrém metal bugyrából, s hogyan képes beteljesíteni a hype adta elvárásokat. A Portal of I dalszerkezete rendkívül lépcsőzetes, de egyben tételenként egy összetett utazás is, hiszen tónusai módszeres zenei tartalmak a derűstől egészen a mogorva zenei képek eszköztáráig, apró lépéseit non-figuratív instrumentális alákísérések teljesítik ki: az akusztikus lebegéstől a hegedű sírásáig a lehető legszélesebb skálán mozognak az elemek. A Tapestry of the Starless Abstract (amelyet a demóról kölcsönöztek a Forget Not és az As Icicles Fall társaságában) egyből a képünkbe lép egy elég dallamas black metal panelkezelés képében, amely dobkezelésében a legintenzívebb aspektusokban itat veszedelmet az egyre atmoszférikusabb távlatokba terpeszkedő zenei összképbe, amely később az összes tételben kegyetlenül konszolidálja magát. A tremolóval történő frekvenciapulzálás elnyújtja a dallamokat, a visszatérő – és egyben hangulatfestést szolgáló – hegedűjáték pedig az egyik legfontosabb sarokpontja a lemeznek. A sokoldalú melodikus témakezelés (pl. Xenoflux, As Icicles Fall stb.) talán nem éppen a csupasz black metal sajátossága, de a Ne Obliviscaris az akusztikus betétek elhelyezésével úgy tördeli ezeket a betéteket, hogy szerepkörük felerősödik (a kiemelten dallamos black metal elszállások tekintetében méginkább), a hegedű melankóliája pedig párban ál a progresszív terjengéssel, hiszen skaláris vonulatai, bámulatos esszenciája olyan méreteket ölt, hogy sok szimfonikus metal zenekar besírna örömében, ha rendelkezne egy ilyen fényponttal. Tim pedig egészen elképesztő, amit művel az albumon, nemcsak a húros szenvelgést, de még a blackben tradicionális vokálokat is ő vállalta!

Egyszerűen minden instrumentum a helyén van, olyan basszusfutamokat játszik Brendan Brown, amelyeknek ténylegesen minden progmetal albumon helye lenne, Nelson Barnes a lelkét kiüti a bőrökön, Benjamin Baret és Matt Klavin gitárjátéka pedig végig rendkívül intenzív, a középtempójú szólóik a komor átmenettől az epikus kikelésekig terjednek, s Tim olyan tiszta éneket (modern filozófiai eszmefuttatások tömkelege) tesz a melódiaáradatba, a néhol picit avantgárd áthallásokba, hogy azt tanítani kellene. A dalcsokor csúcspontja egyértelműen a már tavaly megosztott And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope, hiszen tökéletes leképezi azt, ahogy ezután a lemez után szólnia kell a progresszív black metalnak. A latinos akusztika a kezdésnél telitalálat, az ehhez hasonló progresszív megoldás jó elsülésére szerintem az első Flametal lemezen (flamenco keverése egyedülállóan progresszív metallal), valamint a második Mod Flanders Conspiracy dalcsokron kívül nem kell hoznom mást példának. A felfokozott belterjes témahasználat, a szakaszokra bontható váltások, a dallamok sokszínűsége, emelkedettsége mind-mind csak az epikusság indexét növelik, s egyszerűen képtelen elfáradni a lemez végére bárhogyan is legyen az több mint egy órás. Elképesztő, hogy a Ne Obliviscaris mennyire kreatív, képtelenek az önismétlés hibájába esni, és az, hogy több mint hetven percen keresztül fenntartják a figyelmet az az év egyik, ha nem a legnagyobb zenészi teljesítménye. Csakis szuperlatívuszokban lehet nyilatkozni az anyagról, hiszen új fejezet kezdődött a Portal of I dalcsokrával a progresszív black metalban. Majdnem hibátlan, aki még nem hallotta, az sürgősen pótolja (még úgy is, hogy blackszűz, esetleg nem éri a black metalt), mert lemarad az év egyik legjobb, s legfontosabb lemezéről.
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Old May 26th, 2012, 08:34 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
Rating: 4/5

I never quite caught this band before, despite all the hype surrounding them they never really made it onto my radar. When I spotted this album rolling around I thought it was about time I heard what all the fuss was about, and it's about this point I realised that this was still their debut; a long awaited album for a band whose demo sparked more interest than those with long standing careers, and it's not difficult to see why. They might be called “Progressive Black Metal,” but like 'Thy Catafalque' before them, even if this was their origins, I'm not sure I'd still call them by that now. These Aussies have so many ideas and influences that permeates their music, adding delicate flavours to a basic blackened backbone that I don't think many would be offended if I referred to them as Avant-Garde.

It might have taken them five years to complete but to say they had a few idea's they needed to pen would be something of an understatement, and not only because this album clocks in at 72 minutes whilst still retaining a somewhat frenetic pace. There was one point that reminded me of the acoustic melody from “Diablo” (though since Diablo III was released, it might have somehow triggered the memory). Much of the violin melodies reminded me of “Profugus Mortis” (perhaps better known as “Blackguard before they fired the violinist”). There were passages that reminded me of “Les Fragments de La Nuit” (a French Neo-Classical Darkwave artist), and others with more of a folk tone, usually Celtic but the occasional Chinese-like flourish emerging. Flamenco acoustic guitar work and shredded solo's, contrast the almost Alcest-like ethereal ambient passages. Sometimes the bassist gets to break out a funky groove, sometimes a guitarist will join him, and I mean that with all the Jazz influences implied. There are two vocalists; the expected growls and a Prog/Power clean vocalist that trade off lines. In one short period I counted that there was a bass riff, independent – albeit similar to – a rhythm guitar riff, whilst the lead guitars solo'd, whilst the violins played for atmosphere and both vocalists sung at the same time.

Three guitar lines, two vocal lines and a violin line. At the same time. The fact that they have so many ideas and want to get them all out is in fact one of the major problems I had confronting this release; even when there aren't so many independent lines going that you could divide them quite happily into two entirely different songs, the tracks shift so often, never going too far from that singular tone that forms their backbone, but neither into territory that feels altogether similar to what came before it. In fact, it changes so often that I often can't remember what came before it; I can't tell one track from the next, but not because they all sound the same. There is simply nothing memorable about much of what's on display here, except perhaps of course, how unmemorable it is. When you employ so many influences so frequently throughout each of the tracks, replacing the standard catchiness of the riff and it's simplicity allowing it to become absorbed, memorised, and repeated throughout a songs length with these elements, there's nothing for the mind to latch on to.

This fact is a mixed blessing as they've created some of the most powerful crescendo's I've heard all year, slow violin and acoustic guitar lines suddenly give way to the blackened abyss and the result is without equal. I'd give you a more specific example except I can't remember where most of them are, and indeed often don't remember until it's upon me once more. There are other minor gripes as well; with so many lines to consider, mastering this release must have been a production nightmare and it's a miracle they've managed to do so well, retaining a raw live feel to many of the lighter passages whilst allowing each element to maintain a decent sense of audibility through the more complex. The drumming largely feels somewhat lacklustre, the snare at times feeling just a little bit too loud for the atmosphere being strived for; an issue that becomes even less significant when you consider just how varied the rest of the instrumentation is. The clean vocals, too, feel a little underwhelming at certain points, never quite capable of mustering the power to dominate over the proceedings as it feels they sometimes should.

That they have a whole host of ideas present on this album is never in question. That the violins perform a duty so well that it seems like other contemporary black metal artists have been missing out all these years, the albums stand out performer without question; that they know how to integrate all these elements in a manner that never feels unnatural, their ability to perform complex ever-shifting arrangements or their understanding of the power of subtlety, of all this there can be no doubt. Given all that it's hard not to be impressed by the work they've created, but whilst their ability to harmonise so many elements coherently seems limitless, it's the individual track compositions that let them down. Without any distinguishing features to stand out in the mind, all the tracks blur into a singular piece, and the result is that it feels somewhat purposeless, never quite sure on what specific atmosphere they're striving at or what point there is to it all, or indeed even if there is a point to it all. Aesthetically appealing, certainly, but it never engages you on a deeper level or makes you think, and ultimately it comes across as rather shallow. The fact that this is a debut album yet feels so mature and that I can think of nothing to really compare it to is genuinely incredible, and they show the potential to be a real tour de force, but not if nobody can remember what they sound like as soon as the music stops playing.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:36 PM   #23 (permalink)
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http://www.thisisnotascene.com/2012/...s-portal-of-i/

Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I
Rating: 8.5/10

Ne Obliviscaris are a very unusual breed of extreme metal band indeed. In fact, I probably might describe as ‘Extreme Progressive Metal’ – at the risk of inventing irritating pigeon-holes and clichés. For those not in the know, this 12 legged riff machine come all the way from Melbourne, Australia and are probably one of the most interesting bands I’ve heard for a long while.

In musical terms, they’re a lot like the wildlife in Australia that you will never find anywhere else or not even remotely close. A very strange and weird species, that appears to be a glorious mix of all sorts of things thrown together by mother nature that make you think “What the hell is this?” – but you think is a really cool animal anyway. Like the Thylacine for instance – the supposedly extinct and near mythical zebra striped wide jawed dog/marsupial thing that you wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

Anyway, enough of the antipodean animal analogies. Ne Obliviscaris blend together a glorious mix of progressive black/death metal in a manner very similar to Opeth, and quite possibly in danger of out Opeth-ing Opeth if that makes sense. Take the opening track ‘Tapestry of the Starless Abstract’. A thundering piece of work that sounds very similar to their earlier works, but then breaks out into a captivating Spanish acoustic guitar piece with a slowly weeping violin that reminds me very much of Joaquín Rodrigo‘s work. Which then comes back with a delightfully supercharged melodic death metal machine gun stomp that stuns the listener, punctuated with violin and guitar solos that reminds me of a speeded up version of a Sins of Thy Beloved track that is jaw dropping impressive.

The band in general appear to be superb musicians that combine lots of different influences woven into their sonic tapestry. Flourishes of black metal, death metal, melodic death metal, flamenco, classical and western art music are heavily prevalent throughout the album. Many bands add them for a bit of variety and atmosphere with varying results dependent on your musical preference/what you can tolerate without being ridiculous (delete where appropriate). Somehow, these guys manage to combine these musical influences and instrumentation in a perfect and very concise manner that outshines many of their peers.

Another observation worthy of note is the combination of clean vocal and growled vocals; some bands can sound awkward and not work very well, but yet again these guys seem to do the growl/sing combo brilliantly. Something worthy of note is Tim Charles, who does clean vocals and violin, he appears to be a fully integrated part of the band with an active duty in this role that doesn’t simply pop up now and again with fiddley-widdley-dee violin antics when required, then doing not much else in-between; like other bands that have a violin player. This, is a pretty good thing in my book.

To conclude, Ne Obliviscaris are pretty damn good at what they do. This album will appeal to those who like a highly creative flavour to their metal, especially to musician types who will take great delight in savouring every musical morsel. At an average of ten minutes per track, some people with short and wandering attention spans may find “Portal of I” at bit too much to take in. In essence, if you find the ‘folk metal thing’ a step too far then it’s advised that you stay clear of this album and band. Metal fans who have some classical CD and Vinyl in their collection will probably find “Portal of I” very enjoyable (like myself).

Wonderfully captivating, dizzying, hypnotic, beautiful and with a sense of deep romanticism – Ne Obliviscaris are a band that you shouldn’t miss if you had problems trying to remove your copy of “Blackwater Park”, “Weather Systems” or “Les Voyages de l’Âme” from your CD or record player because it was so sonically addictive.

You’d better watch your back, Mr Ĺkerfeldt. You’ve got company…
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Old May 28th, 2012, 06:39 PM   #24 (permalink)
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http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/4...s-Portal-of-I/

Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I (Sputnik Review 3)
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary: The new prog-metal demigods

Portal of I is a stirring trans-genre metal debut that's not easy to appreciate for its full impact immediately. Instead, Ne Obliviscaris demand attention from the opening blackened death barrage of "Tapestry of the Starless Abstract", but challenge listeners with clandestine grace - nearly inaudible dulcimer-plucking amidst a prog breakdown. This is only a microcosm of their true specialty in seamlessly integrating unconventional instrumentation or ideas; they breathe life into an almost tired genre throughout the complete course of Portal of I. The parallels to Opeth are obvious, yet the Australian metallers forge new territory by using black metal (and using it well) where it has been traditionally unwelcome within the "confines" of progressive metal. More realistically, PoI is reminiscient of a more highly evolved Devin Townsend experimentation - coupling atmosphere with SYL-esque ferocity sans the skullet and fart jokes.

Instrumentally, all musicians are consummate professionals and hold their weight at a very minimum. The screams are evil and the clean vocals aren't vomit-worthy like most prog; "Of the Leper Butterflies" has one of the most memorable choruses for the genre in recent memory. The solos are technical and melodic, the bass is audible and actually useful, and the blast-beats are unrelenting. Notably and emphatically, the violin steals the show on recordings like "Forget Not" with emotion practically dripping out of every bowed note. More important than instrumental prowess, however, is the package as a whole. Portal of I delivers a well-conceived and meticulously planned composition that has obviously been years in waiting. Music like this isn't made overnight, and the results are telling. Ne Obliviscaris have made their case for replacing Opeth atop the prog-metal pantheon in one strike; their next effort has a lot to live up to.
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Old May 29th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I
Rating: 4/5

Progressive Black/Melodic Extreme Metal Asal Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Ne Obliviscaris ( Baca : Nay Ob-li-vis-kar-is ) yang dalam Bahasa Latin-nya adalah " Lest We Forget " kembali membuat kejutan setelah cukup memukau melalui Demo " The Aurora Veil " Tahun 2007 band ini memang dikenal memiliki gaya bermain Yang Bagus dalam aransemen Musik, ini seperti perpaduan Tidak wajar antara Dimmu Borgir, Dream Theatre, Opeth dan Amorphis menjadi sebuah Komponen musik yang lebih Hitam dan gelap ! apalagi band ini selalu membuat lagu dengan Durasi yang Panjang 6 - 12 menit dialbum ini wew ! di album ini pertarungan beberapa skill member band memang saling di Uji sehingga kesan Progressive memang tidak bisa dikesampingkan begitu saja, karena memang banyak sekali proses eksperimen bermusik telah terjadi. Dimulai dengan " Tapestry of the Starless Abstract ", Gaya Blackened Black Metal yang dipenuhi oleh Fast Blastbeat membuat kegelapan seperti sedang membuka lebar Dimensi-nya selama Durasi 12 menit dengan teknik2 bermain Musik yang serba mengejutkan, Melodius, Dark, dan Fast !! gw sampai Terngantuk mendengar Durasi lagu-nya yang Memang Fantastis hehehe, sebuah kekuatan dari Kegelapan di hadirkan dengan sangat Baik oleh band ini, Total 01:11:40 kita cuman dipaksa mendengar 7 lagu saja disini. album ini memang akan menambah referensi Kasanah Musik Metal yang lebih Luas lagi dengan berbagai Eksperimen yang dilakukan tidak setengah2, sehingga apabila elo membutuhkan sebuah tantangan yang lebih, debut full album yang selain dirilis oleh Code666 Records juga di rilis oleh label se-negaranya, Welkin Records untuk pasaran Australia ini bisa menjadi sebuah Pilihan yang Bijaksana lagi hehehehe ... containing even more aggressive moments without losing that sense of melody and emotional rollercoaster in the transitions between different moods that made the band such a unique entity.
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