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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.

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