Iíve been trying hard to come up with a punchy sentence that describes why exactly this band is so good, but I canít, so I will simply try and be succinct; NE OBLIVISCARIS blend elements of Jazz, Flamenco, Melody and Death Metal into a framework of Progressive Black Metal. This sounds like a fairly exiting prospect on its own, but the skill with which NE OBLIVISCARIS execute it provides the greatest thrill. Each song is intelligently composed, featuring virtuostic technicality that is neither flashy nor included at the expense of interesting song writing. Each composition dwells around the 10-minute mark, and all feature prolonged sections of progressive Flamenco and acoustic guitar work. These slower sections only serve as build up though, as NE OBLIVISCARIS sound best when they are playing Melodic Black Metal. Corey King and Mat Klavinsí provide an abundance of beautiful melodic riffs, as well as handling the sections of faster Black Metal competently. Frontman Xenoyr has a fairly impressive scream, which works well both in the fore and layered underneath Tim Charlesí singing. NE OBLIVISCARISí drummer, Daniel Presland, recently won the ďFastest FeetĒ drumming competition in Australia, yet shows a deftness and dexterity that I certainly never expected. One of the surprising stars here is bassist Brendan Brown, whose nimble bass lines nicely underpin the music and are much more noticeable than on an average metal record.
One of the main things that sets NE OBLIVICARIS apart from other similarly styled bands is violinist Tim Charles, who also contributes clean vocals. His clean vocals are absolutely brilliant, and provide some of the highlights of the disc. Additionally, the use of the violin simply adds another element to NE OBLIVISCARISí already impressive arsenal of Progressive Black Metal mastery.
Although I could gush on about the band all day, I feel there are still some improvements to be made. Firstly, I feel it would be to the bands benefit to slightly lesson the length of the acoustic sections, as I found my attention wandering on occasion. Also, I would like to see the guitars brought to the forefront of the music a bit more. Its great that the violin is being used as a lead instrument, but there are also a ton of killer melodic leads that are lurking around the compositions but arenít quite loud enough to take command. These gripes are only minor however, and donít detract too heavily from the overall listening experience.
I donít want to hype this band too much too early, but they possess within themselves the ability to go very far. This self-financed demo is refreshing to these ears, as I havenít heard a release so promising in quite a while. Any fans of ENSLAVED, OPETH and EMPEROR should look into this band immediately, as the similarities are certainly there. However, NE OBLIVISCARIS could just as easily appeal to any fans of heavy music in general, and it would be worth your time to check out the tracks on their Myspace, as they are definitely a cut above the rest.
(Online May 31, 2007)