Album Review: Ne Obliviscaris – Urn

By Rosie Walker

Australian band Ne Obliviscaris started back in 2003. Yet, many still consider them to be a new group since their first full-length album wasn’t released until 2012. This six-piece act from Melbourne has gained a lot of traction in the heavy metal scene and recently released their third record, ‘Urn’ (October 27 through Season of Mist). Their fans have high hopes for this new release, and were waiting in great anticipation to hear if this young metal band would take the helm of the difficult extreme/progressive genre and continue to grow in popularity. But after listening to this 46-minute record, the Ne Obliviscaris fan base might be a bit disappointed.

Entering the album with the song ‘Libera (Part l)’, you are instantly washed over with a wall of sound. The chaos of instruments and synths are soon overpowered by the clean vocals of Tim Charles. The violinist and singer of the group is the hallmark of melody throughout this six-song album. You are almost reminded of the band’s earlier, heavier days when the grim growls of Xen kick in along Tim’s cleans. This band grasps the concept of meshing extreme metal with melody quite well. The movements in each song swing to a lot of different places. There are long stretches of the violin taking the lead and singing the band’s themes of death and loss. Though beautiful, the reputation and length of its solos get pretty old.

The second part of ‘Libera’ is a short instrumental number that sets you up for the next piece ‘Intra Venus’. The flow of this album is very much like a story, in that each song feels like a chapter to a tale of contemplation and sadness. The overarching melancholic tone on each track blends well with the blast beats and eery guitar tones that hint at NeO’s black metal influences. There are multiple musical styles heard in this band’s sound, but the production does not blend or complement their variety very well. The vocals seem separate from the instrumental mix, making the flow a bit stagnant and awkward. Though unique and enjoyable, Tim Charles’ vocals dominate everything else and it gets exhaustive by the end of the album.

The longest track, coming in just under twelve minutes, ‘Eyrie’, is by far the most progressive, interesting piece on the record. The gentle opening of acoustic guitar lets the listener explore various emotions and preps them for the more severe sections ahead. Yet when you are greeted with the heavier parts, an unimpassioned emptiness is felt. The slightly mechanical and impassive playing leaves a strong desire for more edge and depth. Though there is always a lot going on, the ‘metal’ parts of each song seem to lack the fervor Ne Obliviscaris had on their debut album ‘Portal of I’.

‘Urn’ a moderately enjoyable listen and you can really appreciate the unique approach this band takes, but these new extreme metal hopefuls have made a rather forgettable, amateur sounding record that makes you just want to listen to their older, heavier material. Ne Obliviscaris means ‘forget not’ in Latin, but ‘Urn’ is pretty forgettable.

Rating: 6/10

Record Label: Season Of Mist
Release Date: October 27th 2017

Track Listing:
1. Libera (Part I) – Saturnine Spheres
2. Libera (Part II) – Ascent of Burning Moths
3. Intra Venus
4. Eyrie
5. Urn (Part I) – And Within The Void We Are Breathless
6. Urn (Part II) – As Embers Dance In Our Eyes

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