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Album Reviews : Ne Obliviscaris – The Aurora Veil

By on December 15, 2008

When I first sat down to write a review for ‘The Aurora Veil’ I was simply lost for words. How is it possible to do justice to the skill exhibited by Ne Obliviscaris in this masterful work using simple text? The short answer is it isn’t possible, there is no way one can adequately explain the true genius displayed in the complex interplay between sheer brutality and exquisite beauty that Ne Obliviscaris used to create three of the most inspired songs you are ever likely to hear, nor is it possible to do justice to the skill with which each of the individual members wields there instruments of choice.

One possible answer would be to draw comparisons between Ne Obliviscaris and other bands, but there simply are no bands that are adequate for the task. One could say that the deftness with which they shift between skull rattling blast beats and ear grinding black metal screams to flamenco inspired acoustic guitar and soaring, emotion filled violin is comparable to the way Opeth shift between death metal and folk but that is a comparison I hate to make. Why? Well for one it a comparison many will make and to be honest Ne Obliviscaris are so good at it that in many ways it would be fairer to compare Opeth to them! Maybe the best course of action would be to discuss each of the songs on “The Aurora Veil” one at a time.

‘Tapestry of the Starless Abstract’ immediately grabs you by the scruff of the neck and screams “WAKE UP” as it explodes into your face. The start of ‘Tapestry of the Starless Abstract’ is full force, no holds barred black metal. It is a clear demonstration of the levels of heavy that the band is capable of. The focus shifts before long however and what we discover is the polar opposite of the start of the song, a masterfully written piece of contemplative classical guitar and mournful violin commences to paint a magnificent sound scape for your pleasure. The softness of this section of the song only serves to further highlight the force with which the song opens. What happens next is pure genius, the two styles combine in the third part of the song to create something altogether new. The furious blast beats return, accompanied by the high gain guitars and guttural screams of the brutal introduction only this time around they are interlaced with the soaring voice of Tim Charles and his soulful violin. The effect is simply magical and is truly something that needs to be heard to be understood.

‘Forget Not’ gives you a better idea of the diversity Ne Obliviscaris are capable of. While the song doesn’t quite reach either of the extremes of ‘Tapestry of the Starless Abstract’ the mellow opening is something all together different to the softer parts of the opening track. This time the acoustic guitar takes on a more Latin feel while the violin that accompanies it through most of the long intro is more scratchy and edgy. I believe “Forget Not” gives (the listener) a stronger feel for the level of skill exhibited by each member of the band, with each of them taking part in the rise and fall as the tune snakes it’s way through an extended intro, gradually building into a crescendo of outstanding blast beats, wailing leads and very cleaver bass. The interplay between Tim Charles’ clean vocals and Xenoyr’s diverse high screams and bellowing growls through the second half “Forget Not” is particularly effective.

The final track, ‘As Icicles Fall’, is the most constantly heavy song on the cd. Opening with Charles’ clean voice soaring over simple, softly distorted guitars and some clever technical drumming before exploding again with more furious double kicks and continued brilliant guitar leads as Xenoyr and Charles again sing around each other. The guitar work on this track is simply breath taking, if you play guitar and nothing else I have said has piqued your interest then at least listen to ‘As Icicles Fall’. I promise you that unless your name is Yngwie Malmstein, you will cry. “As Icicles Fall” doesn’t feature the beautifully mellow passages that the two preceding songs contain though this is far from a bad thing, as it makes this a good introduction to the band for those that are not yet used to there heavy bands switching acoustic every now and then

“The Aurora Veil” is merely the start for this brilliant sextet. Having lost there lead guitarist Corey King in mid-2007, they fell silent for a time but now are back in action with new member Benjamin Baret from France ably taking over where King left off. Don’t miss the boat on this one, Ne Obliviscaris are set to conquer the world with there dynamic, original and extremely powerful sound. You will not hear anything more inspired than these three songs… that is until the next Ne Obliviscaris release.

I really want to score “The Aurora Veil” 10/10 but given that this is “just a demo” I think that it would be most unfair on the band to suggest that this is the best they have to offer. I wait with baited breath to see what comes next! 9.8/10

Band: Ne Obliviscaris
Album: The Aurora Veil
Year: 2007
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Origin: Melbourne, Australia

Track Listing:
1. Tapestry of the Starless Abstract
2. Forget Not
3. As Icicles Fall (Reviewers choice)

Reviewed by Dan ‘Franky’ Berryman.