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How is THIS a demo?! - 98%

BlackMetal213, August 10th, 2017

Aside from "The Aurora Veil", I really haven't listened to much from Ne Obliviscaris. I have the albums "Portal of I" and "Citadel" as well but I've only listened to both of them marginally and really haven't indulged much. This demo is really THE NeO recording that has always had my interest and while I probably should give the other releases a chance, I feel they will most likely pale in comparison to this glorious piece of extreme progressive metal mastery.

If I can be totally honest here, I don't exactly recall when or where or what I was doing when I first heard "The Aurora Veil". I'm not sure how I came across this demo aside from the obvious fact that it happened on the internet somewhere. Maybe I was looking for new "black metal" bands? As in bands that had just started to take off? This thing was released in 2007 but I believe I first heard it in 2011 sometime. It has been about five or six years...I just can't recall the exact event. Regardless, it immediately captured my attention and bottled it up in an airtight glass container. For the most part, this follows similar formulas that bands such as Opeth and Enslaved after they added more progressive influence into their music, and also takes influence from perhaps Emperor and Ihsahn's solo project of the same name.

The sound of this demo mixes progressive metal and extreme metal, notably black metal, which is most apparent on the intro track "Tapestry of the Starless Abstract". This 12-minute affair is, in my opinion, the epitome of excellence on this demo. It starts off with all guns blazing in a fast and aggressive tempo, accompanied by black metal-tinged shrieks and screams. The riffs for the most part are fairly complex and melodic, all the while sounding aggressive when need be and appropriate. There is also a violinist which is fairly interesting, as most bands that include strings instruments tend to use synthesizers. Not in the case of NeO. Though the first track is the most aggressive, it does contain these melodic breaks and doesn't lose its atmosphere and effectiveness. This song, as well as is the case with the entire demo, features some cool basslines utilizing what sounds like a fretless bass. "Forget Not" also features this bass sound and it's really cool to hear. It reminds me of other bands that use this in their music such as Obscura. It seems to be a commonality in a lot of progressive metal but it's still a neat addition to the music.

"As Icicles Fall" also features some more guitar work in the black metal style but the drumming is not as fast as the first track. Usually, the riffs here that have black metal influences are still highly melodic recalling some of the more melodic black metal bands of the later 1990s. In the vocal department, Xenoyr handles the harsh vocals while Tim Charles handles the clean vocals, as well as the violin. I think the clean vocals are pretty darn good but the harsh vocals are really where it's at. They add yet another blackened shade to the music. There are parts in this album, such as in "Tapestry of the Starless Abstract", where these clean vocals are done in a very high range. Such a high range that I, until only recently, mistook them for female vocals. It seems no females were responsible for any additional vocals according to the credits, so this is a bit of a shock to me. It's still really nice to hear.

This demo, in closing, is a true masterpiece. It seems to almost garner universal appraise aside from some who think it's a bit pretentious, a bit too much, or that it tends to drag on for too long. I mean, 33 minutes for three songs? That's quite a runtime indeed. Either way, I know how I feel about this demo. It took NeO five years to craft their first full-length after this came out which is quite interesting but doesn't matter either way. This demo really doesn't sound like a demo with it's fairly strong production value and songwriting approach. Maybe I should listen to this band's entire discography now...

Best Demo Tape ever?! - 98%

nilgoun, December 18th, 2011

To sketch The Aurora Veil out, you would have to say, that it is a mixture of progressive and black/death metal, although the lion’s share is on the side of progressive metal. But, to put the cart before the horse, lets start with the basics: The fundament of their songs, although this can be quite subtle, is on a black metal basis, which could especially be heard in the opener Tapestry of the Starless Abstract, as it starts with it. This fundament is highlighted from time to time, for instance through the use of fast doublebass patterns, but mostly accentuating the progressive structures that are layered above. This progressive layers are so numerous and there is so much going on simultaneously that you should take your time to enjoy the songs.

As usual for progressive tracks, all songs are exceeding the nine minutes mark – and two of them are nearly twelve minutes long. Overlong tracks tend to become boring after a while, but Ne Obliviscaris did circumnavigate well around that cliff. On the one hand because there is -as mentioned before- so much going on simultaneously, that you can discover so much and on the other hand due to enough variation and variety in terms of structures scattered over each track. Every instrument has enough room to breath properly and everything got some time to set a spotlight on itself, for instance the beautiful bass lines, drum accents or some acoustic passages. The major element in terms of orchestration is – without a doubt – the violine which plays apart from light folk melodies (which could be traced back to the jazz/fusion influences violinist Tim Charles has) and often plays the second lead guitar.

Another accent which guarantees that the songs fly by in no time, is the interplay between the guttural vocals of Xenoyr and the clear vocals done by violinist Tim. Simply everything fits together without a flaw, so that even the wildest orchestral and/or vocal passages seem purely natural and completely rounded. Another highlight of this record is the production which is more than crystal clear – but it has to be, as the music is so multilayered, that you couldn’t notice anything if it was worse. If you want to compare them with anything, you could go for Opeth on a really vague basis, as they also use an interplay of guttural and clear vocals and also produce progressive songs.

Conclusion:

The Aurora Veil is the perfect name for this record, as you can’t keep your ears from listening – similiar to the effect you have while watching the northern lights. The Australians are writing virtuosity with capital letters but keep themselves from overstating so that everything is purely natural. Everything on this record is completely rounded and you are bound to listen to it for multiple times, no matter what you do. Some really really little flaws are there, though, as you could say the clear vocals are a bit to cheesy from time to time, but nothing important. This demo is one of the best outputs ever and the first song of their new record seems to be great as well, so keep your eyes open!

Originally written for http://threnodies.com

Deserving of the Hype - 92%

__Ziltoid__, July 11th, 2011

No death metal from me this time. Instead, we get one of the finest demos in all of metal. Meet Ne Obliviscaris. They’re, in a sense, a black metal band from the Aussie land. However, this is not your standard fare black metal. Instead, this is a wonderful treat to the ears, as it’s the kind of classy, violin-ful black metal with many soft passages, leading to an ultimate package of peaceful beauty mixed with an agonized, yet still charming black metal side. This demo is of particular significance because it literally took the underground metal community by storm when it was released in 2007. Via the mystic powers of the internet, many a pasty basement-dweller got word of this band, and overall reaction was quite positive. Of course, there were the purists who didn’t want violins in their black metal (which is understandable), but the final product is just too good to dismiss.

‘Tapestry of the Starless Abstract’ starts off this three-song affair by putting everything on display. First comes the black metal parts, and then the softer parts gradually show up like in an Opeth song, except without the stupidity with which Opeth writes their songs. Everything flows really well, as they never try to go back to blastbeat black metal after the first part, but are instead more content to go for a solid riff over double bass drumming. It’s much less brutal, but a very nice transition back into the heavier music. Really, this is all about transitions, as they are what accentuate each new passage, and doing so correctly allows the music here to mold together very nicely.

‘Forget Not’ is next up, and it starts with the soft stuff, along with some nice fretless bass work. Slowly, the guitars make themselves a part of the song, but throughout the entire thing, the black metal parts are nicely restrained, as the violin takes center stage for the majority of this song. Here, the juxtaposition of separate elements (violin, fretless bass, black metal) is done quite nicely, with each element getting a great chance to be noticed, and to do something on its own. This is not how a band who alternates dynamics like Opeth writes, but they should be taking note here, because these fellows do a much better job writing long songs than they do.

‘As Icicles Fall’ is the last track here (that’s the only reason I’m doing this review track-by-track style). This track begins with some nifty drumming and some clean vocal work, which while sounding a bit unrefined, has worked really well throughout this demo nonetheless. This has a very melodic black metal riffing style over some non-blastbeat drumming, which is interesting. If anything, this is a more guitar-oriented track, and some of the riffs aren’t really black metal at all.

What this demo shows is that versatility can take a band a long way. Ne Obliviscaris have shown that they know how to let multiple instruments lead their music, without drowning the other out. Simply put, there’s a reason that The Aurora Veil took the underground by storm. Besides being made in the era of the internet, this has the components of “good music” that appeal to a lot of metal fans without sounding tacky and trite, while also being very unique while doing so. This may be a demo, but it sounds great for what it is, and the music within is a fine example of good underground metal.

Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/

Stop the madness! - 50%

Exhumonoctus, April 20th, 2009

I've always been wary of a 10 out of 10 review... while I appreciate sometimes you just have to round up, I think it's a sad day for metal when an album nails it that perfectly that all the genre can do is stagnate. To then review an album as 100, where there should be plenty of room for movement even without employing a decimal point just demonstrates a listeners absolute inability to be critical at all and thus renders the review itself redundant.

While this album impresses greatly through the mere musical ability of each of it's members, and is relatively brave in terms of it's employment of styles and textures typically foreign to extreme metal - especially self-described Black Metal, it falls well short of the mark of being perfect - and certainly isn't original.

Upon hearing Tapestry of the Starless Abstract I am immediately reminded of a band that I discovered on mp3.com back in it's glory days who were later signed to Metal Blade. This band was Ethel Duath. The band blended Emperoresque symphonic metal with a neo-classical cacophony that at the time seemed a perfectly appropriate next step for the genre. Since then I have grown to appreciate a more distilled and stripped back approach to Black Metal, and Ethel Duath by their second full length had lost almost all signs of their Black Metal roots.

The second obvious parallel to draw is Opeth, so obvious in fact that I don't see why it would be in dispute and won't comment any further on it.

The songs on this album impress originally but quickly grow old. They are overly long, attempt to layer far too many complex textures that would be hard enough to digest alone, and blend too much stylistically - clearly representing the greatly differing musical preferences of the band. Are they a jazz/fusion crossover or a neo-classical crossover? If they can't agree on one, they could certainly benefit from not attempting to be both in the same passage of music.

The band is also clearly not a Black Metal band. While it's influence is present and the band attempts to capture the feel of the more listener-friendly bands at points, the music lacks any of the requisite darkness or malice that a Black Metal release requires. The demo is far and wide more gothic through it being an attempt at making something beautiful - as opposed to making something sinister. I will however commend the vocal performance on this album. I despise 'black' vocals that sound angry rather than evil, and this band does not fall into this trap. Similarly while the quality of the clean vocals are over-hyped in my opinion, they are certainly well practiced and not overly 'gay' sounding.

Musically this band has all of the ingredients for being a front runner of the gothic or progressive metal scenes, although I think they lack the world view to be seriously considered a black metal band. From my perspective though this demo is more representative of paint still on the pallette, rather than the painting itself. It demonstrates the bands capabilities - but clearly shows the need to further solidify a direction and also understand when a song can benefit from a restraint. Just because your troupe is comprised of virtuoso musicians it is not necessary to have all band members contributing at 11/10 on the wank-o-meter at all times.

All that said, this release gets a generous 50% - This demo will fade into obscurity and will not be touted as anything special in the years to come. This degree of musical capability is not all that rare in this day and age, and these songs do not survive the test of time. The band itself, if they can get over themselves and get on with the business of making good music, has alot more they can offer than this. As such, I am leaving them plenty of room to improve within.

Really groundbreaking - 96%

Thorganism, April 3rd, 2009

Having been a staunch listener of all things metal for coming up on something like 1.5 decades, there's not much I've not encountered or heard before. That said, while I enjoy the music very much still, it's super rare that a band comes along that excites me. I'm lucky to hear a band of this nature once a year, if that.

I direct you now to Australia's Ne Obliviscaris. The past few weeks, these guys have been the talk around the “water cooler” during the time every weekend when my friends come over to the house and watch campy horror movies and ridiculous pornography. After coming up some two or three weeks in a row, my interest had been piqued. I asked my buddy for the hookup to see what all the hubbub was about. I was in no fucking way imaginable, disappointed.

Nailing down this band's genre to anything less than three to four words is about as easy as nailing your best friend's hot mother at age fifteen. They are most commonly described as “progressive black metal”; however, their black metal sections are few and far between. Upon each listen I notice something new that could be construed as having come from a different influence. The main ones are black metal, progressive metal, and neoclassical.

There are no bad songs here. Each song is excellent in its own right. While there are only three tracks on this demo, each is over or near the 10 minute mark, but don't quite feel like it. The production is the best you'll ever hear on a “demo.” My personal favorite is the opener “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract.” The songs all contain long melodic interludes juxtaposed with the more black metal parts and creates an ethereal dreaminess.

The harsh vocalist Xenoyr splashes a mixture of high end black metal vocals and occasional low to mid range death metal vocals. I would call him the weakest link in the band, but even he is good and better than most vocalists that attempt a similar style. This should speak volumes about the talent of the other members. Guitarists Ben Barrett and Matt Klavins do a phenomenal job. They mix black metal riffs with traditional metal and progressive riffs and leads and even throw in some flamenco-ish stuff here and there. While they are not hyper technical, they are damn good, and unlike many guitarists that place an emphasis on the technical side of things, they know how to write a riff and place things throughout the songs in a very powerful way. Bassist Brendan 'Cygnus' Brown displays one of my favorite aspects of this demo. He uses tones and styling similar to bass greats such as Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Death, Iced Earth, Testament, Quo Vadis) and Tony Choy (Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence). Drummer Daniel 'Mortuary' Presland manages to blast and pull off rapid fire double bass throughout melodic sections that most drummers would take a break on and makes it work. The “X” factor of this band is Violinist and Clean Vocalist Tim Charles. His violin playing is weaved craftily with the guitars. This doesn't sound like a metal fan writing violin pieces, but rather a formally trained violinist who got conned into joining a metal band. His vocals kick the living fuck out of many out there today, but aren't in the style of classics like Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden). While most harsh/clean vocal combos are annoying and trendy, this band pulls it off.

To gripe about anything on this demo would be splitting hairs. There are a few flaws and things that I would do differently if I had a hand in it, but getting into that would be pointless. The bands diversity of style and level of musicianship could really appeal to a lot of different crowds. Fans of bands ranging from Opeth, Atheist, Cynic, Death, Alcest, Dream Theater, Arcturus etc. will definitely dig this and I can easily see a large contingent of people who don't normally listen to metal get into this demo and band.

Black metal purists are probably furious that this band has any sort of black metal leanings at all and will do anything in their power to talk this record down, but please, just find out for yourself. I expect big things out of this band if they can maintain this lineup and get a label to pull their heads out of their asses and swoop them up. Check this shit out right now.

Loses its value after time.. - 65%

Saethiaal, September 19th, 2008

Ne Obliviscaris are a six piece Australian band who hails from Melbourne, Australia. They a play a genre of music that is very hard to define, some would call it progressive black metal. But what they play isn't black enough to be called black metal, its really hard to pin them down to one genre. If we did, we would be getting into genre extremities such as "melodic progressive symphonic black metal" (I mean come on, who's seriously going to call it that?). They have also drawn comparisons to bands such as Agollach and Opeth, but really they don’t sound too similar to either of them. They are like a mix of those two bands and Emperor, but with a violin.

No matter how you put it, having a violin in metal is always going to sound pretentious. But Ne Obliviscaris manage to make it sounds rather good without being amazing and it adds to the overall atmosphere without sounding like as some would describe it “wankery” at points. At times it takes over from the guitar as the lead instrument, and even has a few, as I would describe them “solos”. They also have two vocalists, one who does the falsettos and the other who does the harsh vocals. I think this is a great idea, especially when they intertwine and overlap over the top of each other, at different points, the roles move back and forth, with one taking the lead while the other provides background vocals. While at other points it just focuses on one of them, it sounds good without sounding like too much is going on at once. The drummer is the real highlight here though, he won the Australian leg of the Fastest Feet award, and you can tell this from some of the blast beats, it sounds like machine gun fire. When he isn’t doing blast beats he shows that he is a very, very solid drummer.

The best song on this demo is probably, “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract”, it starts off as brutal and heavy as you will hear on the entire demo, with the machine gun blast-beats and the Emperor-esque riffs, then Xenoyr comes in with the harsh vocals. After a few minutes of this barrage a jazzy bass line comes in with a rather good violin solo (well i'm no expert on the instrument, but it sounds pretty good to me). At the end of the song, which is surprisingly uplifting (unlike the melancholy we usually hear coming from these bands), we are hit with, what I find to be very good lyrics in::

“Symphony for the pilgrim… intrinsic wake.... opulent discordant soul...my arabesque, Setting sail from paradox lost to a paradise found... Paradise, my paradise found”

The next song on the demo is “Forget Not” and for some reason, the intro to this song sounds like the music you hear in the game Diablo when you’re in the city. One of the qualms I have with this song is that the intro is a little long, but besides that the song is rather decent. The final song is “As the Icicles Fall”, which really highlights the drummer and the clean vocalist’s abilities at the beginning, before exploding at around the 1:30 point and not looking back at all from that point.

One of the main problems with this demo is that some of the songs seem to have points which where they drag on for about a minute or so longer than they should, usually at the beginning or end of the song where they just have pointless interludes or acoustics. I usually fast forward to the bits to where it gets much heavier, which leads me to the conclusion that this band is much better when they play faster, this music seems more interesting and draws you in more than it does when they slow down.

To sum up, this demo is hopefully a good preview for what we can hopefully expect from their upcoming album to be released sometime in 2009.

Edit: The album has lost it's value over time, it almost seems like a gimmick having the violin in the band. Although this is still a decent release but lets hope they release something better this year.

Exquisite - 89%

Muloc7253, July 30th, 2008

Ne Obliviscaris have caused quite a stir on the underground as this, their first demo has recieved a ton of praise from many reviewers. They came pretty much out of nowhere with 'The Aurora Veil', and will probably release an album in the next two years that will be subject to even more critical acclaim.

Ne Obliviscaris play what is here described as progressive black metal, but that's pretty vague as progressive can mean anything. Well, they are progressive in the very traditional Dream Theater sort of way - talented musicianship, tempo changes, lots of different sounds and instruments and enough diversity to keep the hyperactive among us interested. They could be compared to Opeth, I guess, it's a similiar deal if you replace the growls for black metal shrieks (although there are some low growls included). Also, this does have a really good flow, and all the different tempos blend in rather well, which apaprently Opeth don't do so well (I don't really listen to Opeth so I don't know, but that's what they seem to get criticized for the most). There are lots of long and winding folk/acoustic parts featuring an assortment of instruments, the violin being quite a prominent one, especially in 'Forget Not'. Aside from the harsh vocals, there's also a clean vocalist, who does just as good a job. Infact, the clean vocals seem to play a bigger role than the harsh ones.

The instrumentation is brilliant, and is one of the main focuses of this demo. The harsh vocals are very well handled, the high-pitched variety sounding a lot like Dani Filth in his better days. The drummer (who won 'fastest feet in Australia' in 2006) is great behind the kit although he doesn't get too showy, which is good. The guitars are very well played, whether supplying rhythm with chuggy riffs or playing melodic leads. The clean vocals are good enough, and sound pretty standard fare for your general prog metal band. However, the members that shine through the most to me are Tim and Brendan, on violin and bass respectively. The violin plays a very large role, acting similiarly to the lead guitar, playing wonderful solos that add an extra beautiful dimension to the already complex and melodic music. The bass is highly proficient and goes beyond regular bass duties, being just about flashy enough to be noticed and add quality to the music without attention whoring. The whole thing would not be complete if one member were missing, as listening to this analytically shows how much every individual put into their performance to create these songs.

I personally like this a lot, and I can see Ne Obliviscaris having a great future ahead of them, not just because music like Opeth and Agalloch is popular now, but because they surpass these bands in terms of consistansy and keeping their music interesting. It's interesting enough for me, and I don't exactly have a vast attention span.

The Beautiful Side Of Metal - 100%

Altisir, May 26th, 2008

It's not often that metal is called beautiful - on the whole, metal is indeed a very ugly genre of music. But for Ne Obliviscaris, an exception can be made. Seamlessly blending acoustic guitars, violins, and clean singing with harsh vocals and somber, melodic, and fast pasted black metal riffing, they create an incredible listening experience that is unlike any other.

When one thinks of acoustics in metal, comparisons are readily drawn to Opeth, or perhaps Agalloch. It must be made clear, though, that Ne Obliviscaris sound nothing like the afore mentioned bands; in fact, they are in a league of their own. The second track on the demo, Forget Not, is a perfect example of this. The first half, for the most part, is pure acoustic, violin, drum, and bass sweetness, and is quite possibly some of the most brilliant acoustic work - in any genre. The violin stands out the most during this song, as well, and let it be known, this is where Ne Obliviscaris shines. In many instances throughout the demo, the violin is in charge of leads as opposed to the guitar. But in their case, it works incredibly well, and as a result gives them an entirely unique feel.

Metal-wise, Ne Obliviscaris do not disappoint. The intro to Tapestry of the Starless Abstract is absolutely brutal, with a surprisingly uplifting outro; the latter half of Forget Not is simple, yet extraordinarily emotional; lastly, the whole of As Icicles Fall is one complete melodic aural feast, starting off with a slow, melancholic intro which eventually leads into some incredibly epic riffage. Concerning the instrumentation, every single one of them shines. In many instances, the bass, guitars, and violin are all doing their own separate thing - but fear not, while in many instances in music this can make a song become cluttered and make a song unorganized, for Ne Obliviscaris the instruments all meld perfectly together. The clean vocals might seem, at first listen, odd, and seemingly out of place. But they are ridiculously catchy, and it's impossible for them to not grow on you. The harsh vocals are great as well - black metal shrieks are mixed with death growls throughout, and are done so flawlessly.

There is honestly not much bad to say about this. Some might find the production on the bad side - note, this is not bad production as in the Darkthrone style, but rather in the sense that in some cases it becomes almost a wall of sound. But this hardly detracts from the music. If anything, it only helps in giving it it's somber atmosphere.

For a three track demo, Ne Obliviscaris have created a masterpiece of not only Progressive Metal, but of music in general. I often forget that is just a demo, and rank amongst my favorite albums. Indeed, this "demo" outdoes most contemporary metal albums. Ne Obliviscaris' debut is slated for an early '09 release, by the way things are shaping up - even if it is only half as good as this demo, it will still almost undoubtedly be one of the best of the year.

Paradise... Paradise Found - 100%

Magero, April 3rd, 2008

Well, to begin this review I would like to say that I find Australian metal to be something of an oddity. Living in Australia myself, I hear a fair bit and to be honest, not many grab me. Bands like Pathogen, Five Star Prison Cell and Terrorust are great to listen to, but they’re nothing “new”. So when I kept hearing about this Melbourne band that was “redefining Black metal” or “shattering genre boundaries”, I thought they might be worth checking out.

Boy was I wrong.

Now, before you start crucifying me for that remark, I want to clarify my comment.

Ne Obliviscaris aren’t just worth checking out.

They are worth putting on repeat and going for a voyage through the solar system with. They are worth listening to while you slaughter an entire village of monks. They are worth every single positive comment they’ve earned.

I checked them out on myspace and all I can say is, that I was instantly blown away by “Tapestry Of A Starless Abstract”. The sheer, raw power created by this band blew me away. The raw, distorted chords of Matt and Corey, the blast beats of Dan, the anguished scream of Xenoyr, the amazing violin work of Tim and last but certainly not least, the fantastic, dancing bass of Brendan.

I downloaded “The Aurora Veil” demo and to this day, cannot get over it. It’s some of the most amazing pieces of music I’ve ever heard. The way Tim’s clean vocals and violin weave in and out of the music while the chaos continues. The way Brendan’s bass lines dance and play on the guitar work. It’s just… indescribable.

The bass work is a special high light for me. As a bassist I love hearing bassists in bands prove their worth. And sure, some bands don’t need fancy playing or showing off, but in this band, it’s just as important in the overall scheme of things. And things like the bass solo at the end of “Tapestry” just high light this.

The guitar work is fantastic. The trade off solos in “As Icicles Fall” between the guitar and the violin are just superb and fit perfectly.

Now, possibly the most amazing thing about this, is the lyrics. These lyrics are some of the most profound, well written lyrics I’ve ever heard. Like this gem from “As Icicles Fall”

“Swept in tow to the danse macabre
In hand to the cold grasp of time…of time
Broken shutters gape open wide
Breathing in hoarse whispers on high…”

The imagery these lyrics conjure… just perfect.

The 3 songs on this demo hit the 33-minute mark in total and its 33 minutes of sheer aural bliss. These guys have everything going for them right now and I can’t wait for the debut album.

The pick of 07 - 93%

deepred, March 6th, 2008

Who would have thought it? Album of the year? An AUSTRALIAN band? Playing black metal? And a DEMO?

As an Australian myself, I am often the scene's biggest critic. It frequently lacks inspiration, particularly the black metal scene. But this release has simply blown me away and Ne Obliviscaris have the potential to rival the likes of Deathspell Omega, Negura Bunget and Blut Aus Nord in terms of impact on the ever-stretching constraints of black metal.

The Aurora Veil had the potential of being yet another gimmicky 'progressive' release - "black metal with violins, ooh, big deal". But after hearing this, you'll wonder how the violin hasn't become an integral part of black metal. It is, after all, perfect for expressing beauty, sorrow, madness and hate. And there can be no doubt about either the quality of musicianship or composition here.

Around a core of pummelling bass drumming, the bass guitar pops and bubbles like Shaun Malone on Cynic's 'Focus'. That's the groundwork. The songs build to epic crescendoes featuring stunning interplay between the highly technical guitar riffs, the frantic dancing and wailing of the violin, and overlaid above all this are the brilliantly composed vocal harmonies. The screams, growls and clean vocals are all immaculate and arranged with a maturity rarely seen in metal.

Bring on the full-length!

Damn. - 100%

Scourge441, January 26th, 2008

I mean, God Damn. How often do you find demos that are THIS good? Something like this is almost completely freakin' unheard of.

Ne Obliviscaris describe their sound as "music of many extremes including darkness, light, intensity, melody, brutalist and beauty." Yeah, that sounds pretentious as fuck. But it's also an absolutely spot-on description of what the music sounds like. For one, they're labeled here on the Archives as a progressive black metal band, so influences from those respective genres are abound. But that kind of misses what they're about. The black metal influences are limited mostly to cosmetic elements; there's genre staples like tremolo-picked riffs, high-pitched shrieks, rapid double bass drums and blast beats.

The prog influences are much more obvious. If the extremely long songs didn't tip you off (As Icicles Fall, the shortest song on this 3-song demo, clocks in at over 9 minutes), then the sonic characteristics of the music certainly would. For example, while Tapestry of the Starless Abstract, the opening song of the demo, starts with a pretty simple black metal trem-picked riff and high-pitched screams over a blast beat. It quickly shifts into a chaotic amalgamation of distortion, acoustic guitars, melodic bass lines, and pizzicato violin. But these parts are blended perfectly; even with everything going on, it still sounds beautiful and calm despite the obvious chaos. These parts were put together thoughtfully and carefully; they are definitely not the result of the "OMG I can play hard stuff!" mentality that bands like Necrophagist seem to succumb to.

But, since I brought up Necrophagist, I should say something about the technical abilities of the band. These guys can play. All of them. Drummer Dan Presland won Australia's Fastest Feet competition. Clean vocalist/violinist Tim Charles is classically trained in both of his talents. Bassist Brendan Brown has videos of himself on Youtube playing some of their songs (some of which aren't on this demo), if you want to actually see his chops in action. But mentioning these things is pointless, because the musical abilities are obvious to the listener. Each song has its share of sweeps, jumping bass lines, speedy drumming, violin runs, etc. But, like that chaotic section near the beginning of Tapestry of the Starless Abstract, none of it is wankery. If Brendan is going to play a technical bass line, it's actually going to contribute to the song. Each musician utilizes every last bit of his technical ability, but they do it tastefully. Again, they're not like Necrophagist.

"But wait! Does all of that musicianship mean the lyrics suffer?"

Nope. The lyrics and vocals are crafted with the same effort as the instrumentation. If I may quote a short section from Forget Not:

"Down by the waters, beneath the willow drapery
Cold, timeless prince…Cloaked in raven wings
With two penny moons, passage through the boatman
Across starlit waters, where dreamscapes are golden.

Now, I'm not one who places a lot of emphasis on lyrics. But I do know that some of you out there do. And I do know that well-written lyrics can do nothing but make a song better. I realize that quoting four lines out of context doesn't tell you much (not that it matters, since you can look up the rest of the lyrics right on the Archives), but it should be enough to show you that the band does know how to use the English language effectively. They can actually create a vivid image in your head, a skill that a lot of lyricists lack. Those of you who do want good lyrics will be more than satisfied here.

Since we're discussing lyrics, the people singing the lyrics should also be mentioned. I already mentioned Tim's classical training, so you can expect good pitch and control on his part. Xenoyr tends to rely on his shrieks, occasionally going to a lower growl. Both are damn good at what they do.

So, it's quite obvious that every member is talented at everything they do here. There's plenty of impeccable musicianship, with the added bonus of good lyrics. But none of that considers what is possibly the most extraordinary aspect of this demo: the production. Demos are typically cheap, fuzzy, muddy recordings. This demo was professionally recorded, and sounds better than 99% of full-length albums, metal or not.

If you're not familiar with the Loudness War, go onto Youtube and look it up to see a pretty thorough explanation of what it is and why it's bad for sound in general. But basically, it involves compressing the hell out of recordings to make them louder, killing any dynamic range in the process. And, if you're a musician who's studied a little bit of theory, you know that dynamics (volume changes used to emphasize/de-emphasize certain sections and contribute to mood) are a bonafide musical device. So, it doesn't really make sense for the production to take away an (admittedly underutilized) entire aspect of songwriting, does it?

What makes this demo an anomaly is that this doesn't happen. Generally, with the modern metal scene, we have recordings that are sterile-sounding compressed to hell, killing the dynamics, or we have recordings that are so bad that you wouldn't be able to hear any dynamic differences anyway. The Aurora Veil is plenty loud and plenty clear, but the dynamic range is intact and the sound is not sterilized. Just listen to the rising and falling volume of the opening acoustic section of Forget Not; it, and the rest of the demo, sounds organic, alive. Every part is plenty audible, with room to breathe left in. It's a marvel of modern production.

Ne Obliviscaris have released something truly unique. It may be a bit of a grower due to the amount of things going on; it's not a grower on the level of something truly strange and inhuman like Gorguts' Obscura, but it definitely takes three or four listens to pick out the cool little intricacies. And when you put everything together, it hits you like a raging bull on crack. Everything about this is stellar.

So I give this demo a 100. Others have opted not to, saying that they want to leave room for the band to expand on their ideas and maybe release something better. And I can't argue with their logic, as I expect great things from this band. But I can't get over the fact they did so much with their debut release, and it's a freakin' demo. If this were an EP, it would probably lose a few points (and it's a bit short to be labeled a full-length). But the standards for a demo, particularly a band's first, are different, and Ne Obliviscaris exceeded every one of them. So I feel confident that I can give this release a perfect rating and still give the band plenty of room to expand. Something this unique, this good, from a band on their first release deserves recognition. And Ne Obliviscaris are well on their way to getting all the recognition they deserve.

Good but not THAT good, damn - 79%

Noktorn, October 14th, 2007

Ne Obliviscaris is a band that's been receiving a surprisingly large amount of attention in the metal underground as of late. The band's debut demo, 'The Aurora Veil', seems to have taken the Australian, and, to some degree, international metal scenes by storm. After all, today is a good day to be a progressive black or death metal band: such artists are receiving much more attention these days, and above and beyond mere displays of technicality; audiences seem to be seeking more abstract music as a whole. This band in particular's brand of melodic, progressive black metal has seemed to entrance numerous metal fans with their unique sound.

Okay, so that's the way most people seem to be opening their reviews of 'The Aurora Veil': with a sort of slavering devotion to the status quo minus any sort of critical eye. Progressive black metal, like most 'progressive' metal, generally ends up being not very progressive at all. Hell, most of it's pretty REGRESSIVE because they're all depending on the same 'progressive' elements: weird time signatures, extra, unusual instruments, lots of instrumental flourishes, etc. None of these are progressive in the least. Progressive is doing something that's actually abstract and unique, but isn't that way simply to be such. Additionally, everyone is attempting to jump onto the progressive bandwagon when they really shouldn't be. More bands need to understand that they should be making solid, generic heavy metal that reinforces the genre instead of going off on tangents that lead to nowhere relevant.

Ne Obliviscaris is a good band. They're not the be-all, end-all of music that some people seem to be making them out to be. Maybe it's just the fact that novelty breeds hyperbole, and the fact that a new band comes along with a solid, very ambitious demo strikes a chord within a large set of people who erroneously think that quality can only be attained through diligent decades of study in Nepal. 'The Aurora Veil' is a very good demo, even moreso as a debut, but it, like all things, is not without flaws. People will heap praise on anything sufficiently different, but I like to think that I can see past the aesthetic sheen and cut to the content a bit more directly than most. And when you peel back the sheen, Ne Obliviscaris is a solid band with a promising future in front of them.

So this band plays progressive black metal that in the end is really neither very progressive nor very black metal. There's one really obvious new element, which is the frequently employed violin that so many people keep harping on, but the rest of the music is based off conventional instruments. I don't see this as particularly 'black metal'. It doesn't have a black metal atmosphere, black metal attitude, or even black metal instrumentation apart from there being tremolo riffs and blast beats. The production is essentially flawless: very clean, very evenly mixed, very professional, fitting the nature of the music. And, of course, the playing is top notch from everyone involved, and there's not even the most minor error to be found.

The music itself is pretty good. Ne Obliviscaris' music is extremely melodic and alternates between the melancholic and the uplifting as far as those melodies go. The three lengthy tracks on this demo are packed with various structural changes, moving from blasting to acoustic sections to midpaced flow quite cleanly and professionally. Clean vocals are employed extensively, as are various guitar and drum techniques which add a great deal of variation to the music. The tracks never quite get boring, though they do tend to blur together; I can't really tell you much of a difference between them, though they're all pretty cool. It's music that operates rather exclusively within its own frame of emotion and mood, though there is a lot of variation within that frame itself.

Like all 'progressive' bands, Ne Obliviscaris walks the tightrope between the dramatic and cool and the undeniably pretentious, and also like most of those artists, falls occasionally. 'Forget Not' has a couple really self-indulgent violin-driven portions that add nothing to the music. For a band that features the violin so prominently, though, they can be excused for the occasional pretentious passage, because the instrument is generally incorporated rather tastefully, if in a very melodramatic fashion. The band verges on cheesy most of the time without crossing over; that comes with the territory of writing music that's so agonizingly melodic at all times.

I think that the band could add a bit more viciousness to the overall package. Even the most 'brutal' passages of 'The Aurora Veil' are pretty damned gentle, all things considered, and the band often treads dangerously close to the area of a band like Woods Of Ypres, though they never get as bad as that band. I still think that adding some sort of harsher edge would create a more unique dynamic, because blasting and growling alone does not create darkness or intensity. Part of it is the musical background I come from talking, because while I enjoy very melodic, uplifting music, hedging it with a bit of contrast is always pleasant to me. Most people would absolutely love this demo, though, because it is an expertly crafted piece of work in its own field.

So while most others would find this genius, I find it 'merely' very good. It's black metal for people who don't listen to black metal, so everyone should at least give this a try, though with slightly lowered expectations from what others would have you believe. Ne Obliviscaris is not this great, glowing god that will single-handedly drive heavy metal into some musical stratosphere incomprehensible to mortal beings, but they are very good songwriters that are worth your time to investigate, regardless of your typical tastes, though those geared to the melodic end of the spectrum will obviously get more out of this than others. 'The Aurora Veil' is a very good demo that promises even better things from the future, and in the end, I'm happy to own a copy of it.

The Marmite Of Music. - 95%

Perplexed_Sjel, October 5th, 2007

Progressive black metal is a genre i'm not very familiar with. I've little or nothing to compare Ne Obliviscaris to, but in a sense I suppose that's a good thing. From what little I have heard of this obscure sub-genre, it hasn't been very good. Ne Obliviscaris are one of the many bands I stumbled across when searching for new music. So, I ran straight to Metal Archives in search for information. An Australian black metal band, there are quite a few good acts out there. Drowning The Light, Pestilential Shadows and Abyssic Hate to name but a few.


Now, if you've ever heard Ne Obliviscaris, you'll know it's completely absurd to compare them to any of the aforementioned bands. They don't sound similar whatsoever. In any way, shape or form. Considering the fact that there are a number of good Australian acts in the genre already, all of which I like, I decided it would be a wise idea to set about listening to some of their material. What I came across was a highly interesting act.


Black metal isn't just a stereotype to Ne Obliviscaris like it is to many of the acts in the genre today. It's not about lo-fi production which sounds like you're riffing over a blender. It's not about creating a 'grim' or 'kvlt' look in order to appeal to fans solely based around that and it's certainly not about creating one dimensional music that loops on itself time and time again to create a short lasting affect upon the listener. Ne Obliviscaris can be compared to certain food products. Odd, yes, but hold on. There are certain types of food, as with certain bands, that people will either love or hate. There simply is no middle ground when it comes to a band like Ne Obliviscaris.


Their style doesn't allow people to merely sit on the fence and state, 'well, it was all right'. They're far too diverse and innovative for that. Some might say Ne Obliviscaris have outdone themselves by using the vast array of instruments that they have done. Such a claim is ridiculous in this respect. Certain genres, such as classical, allow a number of musicians to play together at one time. Ne Obliviscaris have hit the nail on the head here. They blend instrument sounds together harmoniously. From the incredibly fast drums to the use of the violin which adds depth to the soundscapes.


Diversity and dynamics are key to Ne Obliviscaris. The use of both clean and harsh vocals are used to great effect. Harmoniously merging and creating one atmosphere together in such a stunning manner. The vocals are a particular high point, especially the clean vocals. They're strangely catchy. The constant pounding of the drums are a notable addition as well. Not only is the drummer the fastest in Australia, but he is gifted in other ways as well. He doesn't simply pound one beat after another, hoping something will sound all right together. He uses a vast array of techniques to portray the best sound across to the listener, which is incredibly pleasing to the senses. His ability to shift from a fast pace to a slower pace is typical of all of the members of Ne Obliviscaris. From an aggressive fast approach, to a slower acoustic section which lightens the mood before the onslaught continues. Dynamism rules all. The violins, as aforementioned, add a new spark. They create a painfully beautiful sound. Enhancing the already laid down soundscapes.


My personal highlight would be Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract.

A Demo Of A Masterpiece - 100%

TheKillerZit, September 13th, 2007

Ne Obliviscaris originates from Melbourne, Australia. Yes, Australia.


There are many elements present within this ace of a demo, the two most prominent being progressive and black metal elements. However, behind all this lies beautifully crafted songs, clever and well-written lyrics, and more, all meshing together to create The Aurora Veil.


The biggest catch for this band, outside of their overall talent, is the fact that instead of having a second guitarist, they've replaced it with a Violin. Many other bands incorporate the use of a violin, but Ne Obliviscaris' use of it produces some amazing results.


Between the piercing screams and grunts, and the beautiful voice of Tim Charles switching off and lapsing over eachother in all the right places, we have some wonderfully composed guitar and bass work. This showcase of excellence is most noticeable on the final track of the demo, "As Icicles Fall". The well placed pulls on the bass strings, and the beautiful effects and riffing of the guitar, blending together with the vocals and the to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere.

The drumming is also highly notable. Gone are the "beatless" black metal drumming that many love to stereotype to anything related to the genre, the drummer makes very good use of pace, the toms, hi-hat, and his set in general.


Even after all these creative juices have been poured into the heart and soul of this demo, the band diligently works on what will undoubtedly be a renowned album.


A must listen and a masterpiece in my book.

A True Metal Gem - 98%

typoofreality1, September 4th, 2007

A True Gem.

This is one of those releases that makes the listener go ‘wow’ immediately after he/she has heard it. Keeping in mind that this release is a mere demo, the average metal listeners would probably crap themselves thinking what Ne Obliviscaris could do with a full-length album. A truly unclassifiable creation, it is breathtaking from the first drumroll and doesn’t let the listener go until the last seconds of Its 33 minute entirety.


Ne Obliviscaris can be pigeonholed most easily into the ‘progressive black metal’ genre, but that wouldn’t even come close to doing justice in describing the multitude of sounds to be heard on this album. The black metal elements on this album can be easily identified, as Ne Obliviscaris has the typical black metal format down perfectly. Xenoyr’s rasps slice through the air over well-done tremolo riffage and pulse-pounding drums. Unlike many typical black metal demos, these heavier distorted sections are done cleanly and with remarkable precision.


What really makes this release amazing however, are the times in it when black metal takes a musical back seat. Ne Obliviscaris takes many long instrumental breaks, and they are tasteful as well as virtuosic. The star of the show is violinist/vocalist Tim Charles, who switches back and forth between well-crafted violin leads and breathtaking clean vocals. It is among these qualities that makes this release such a refreshing listen. Even the bass, and instrument that is criminally underused in much of black metal, comes out in full force here, as there are many creative and inventive basslines to be found on this album.


Just because less-then-typical sections are highlights of this release doesn’t mean that the good ol’ high-gain guitar goodness isn’t to be found here. Among the well done black metal riffs on this album are breathtaking guitar solos played both electrically and acoustically. There is no wankage to be found here, and Ne Obliviscaris’ guitarists sound like masterful shredders with decades of practice. The keen listener should be able to pick up hints of jazz and flamenco in the guitar playing.


The lyrical content on this album is potent and poetic, and the fact that the lyrics are both growled and sung cleanly only make the allure of the lyrics more interesting. The best vocal parts of this album happen when both the clean and the harsh vocals are done at the same time. Never before have I encountered a band with such vocal and lyrical flexibility as Ne Obliviscaris and their compositions are sure to impress the most stubborn musical elitists.


The Aurora Veil contains three lengthy tracks, each totaling between nine and twelve minutes. Each track contains long acoustic sections, brutal black metal passages, bombastic drumming, artful vocal melodies, and just plain spectacular musical harmonies. If I had to pick the best one, I would say Tapestries of the Starless Abstract, but every song here is a killer. This demo is well worth your time to pick up, and this band has amazing potential. Recommended for fans of all metal.

98%

Originally written for ultimate-guitar.com

A rapid ascendance to the Pacific metal throne... - 99%

Hubster, May 23rd, 2007

On a global scale, Australia has been home to mostly lacklustre bands in recent years who offer little considerably unique in the metal field, with the exception of a handful of bands such as The Amenta, Elysian Blaze and a few others. This period may be drawing to a close, for a new band has emerged quite unlike any other before it from Australia or anywhere else in the world.

Gathering a cult following before even releasing this, their first demo (initially slated to be their debut EP), Ne Obliviscaris hail from Melbourne, a city renowned for its deep culture of music and the arts. Such a rich environment provides a natural backdrop for the short history of these young highly talented musicians.

"The Aurora Veil" opens with explosive drumming courtesy of Daniel 'Mortuary' Presland, and tightly executed Black Metal, puncutated with Xenoyr's slicing, sharp snarls. Don't become too too comfortable with this - only a handful of bars in, there is an unexpected turn: blossoming colours of timechanging and arpeggiated structures arrive akin to the heralding of a new Spring season, accentuated by a Pizzicato (plucking of a violin), before taking a short return to the frenzied Black Metal basis, however this time framed by Xenoyr's Death Metal growls and a strong falsetto (executed so beautifully that one could mistake it for a female midrange register) by violinist and clean vocalist Tim Charles.

Only one and a half minutes into one song, and already the band has combined three different styles into their composition while firmly providing strong colours throughout their delivery. This very trait provides a (paradoxically) simple, basic expression to the Ne Obliviscaris musical character, for what is to come is unique in Black Metal, or any style of metal for that matter.

Movements of almost Bach-like nature (think along the lines of "Works for Lute BWV 995-997"), voiced with a flamenco tongue herald sweeping violin bowstrokes, evoking a weeping, emotionally saturated dirge. It's difficult trying to keep your eyes dry during these sections of the recording. The technique is a powerful emotional tool, executed like few bands have the capability to do. When one expects to hear it again in another song, it is perhaps voiced through a blend of almost gypsy-like folk, which melds into metal. Truly ingenious, highly creative and unpredictable.

These movements, however, unveil the definitive and unqiue character of Ne Obliviscaris' music: the inclusion of violin is nothing new in Metal: one of the most famous bands to use violins was none other than My Dying Bride, and the instrument has since been taken up by countless cloned gothic doom bands since. None however, have used the instrument's voice in its true virtuosic form and this is exactly what Ne Obliviscaris have achieved here, and for what could be the first time in Metal history. Instead of the two virtuso being guitarists, one is instead a violinist. The result is a beautiful and vibrant spectra of pale colours, combined with a powerful shift back and forth between virtuoso violin and guitars. It is mindnumbing at how effective this method is, how natural it sounds.

A wise young friend said to me recently, that most bands, especially at their humble beginnings, have a weak link - be it songwriting, musicianship, or dedication. With Ne Obliviscaris there is truly none. The only thing which can possibly come close is the (barely) audible trait of a bands' youth but that is all. Given their upcoming album, it is highly conceivable that any trace of youthful songwriting will disappear quickly, to be replaced by the more evolved version of the already powerful maturity and depth that the band exhudes.

Each member of the band is a master of their instrument. Both guitarists, Matt Klavins and Corey King, play emotionally, aggressively, and classically. Bassist Brendan 'Cygnus' Brown's playing covers a large range of his fretboard, evident in diverse structures throughout the songs, and he also plays with blistering speed in the opening song "Tapestry Of The Starless Abstract". Drummer Daniel 'Mortuary' Presland's playing is perhaps the most solid Black Metal styled drumming heard yet from an Australian band, he handles timechanges and consistency of speed with great confidence. These musicians, along with Xenoyr and Tim Charles, combine to form a band of formidable unity and strength, and the best part of their journey is that it has only just begun.

"The Aurora Veil" is a stunning commencement to what will surely be an amazing forthcoming career. There is no doubt that Ne Obliviscaris will lead Australia's metal reputation to great heights in the coming years, and I, among many others, will watch with wide eyes for this band to ascend to the Pacific metal throne on the back of this stunning and beautiful debut release.

10/10
Official Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/neobliviscaris