"Urn" By Ne Obliviscaris
Released Oct 27, 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal/Extreme Metal
It has been a long held belief that heavy metal is the most closely related modern music style to classical music. Few bands exemplify this better than Australia's Ne Obliviscaris. Their long, layered, and intricate musical compositions hold all the technical skill and dexterity of arrangement common with the great composers of old. The prominent use of violin and theatrical melodic vocals, both performed by founding member Tim Charles, add to the classical component in the band's sound. The metal elements are just as prominent with the guttural vocals of Xenoyr, intricate guitar work, and double bass heavy percussion.
This well crafted blend of styles has lead to critical acclaim for the band and helped make their third studio album Urn a highly anticipated release. And the band definitely delivers on the hype. Opening track "Libera, Pt. I: Saturnine Spheres" is a near ten minute epic that sets the tone of the record well. It opens with an intense assault of percussion that is contrasted with swift yet melodic guitars and the distinct melodic vocals of Charles. Xenoyr's aggressive vocals marks the switch to a "hook" of sorts for the song with a distinct groove to the drums. After more rounds of melodic vocals and a quality guitar solo the non stop onslaught is paused for an acoustic segment driven by a violin solo with acoustic guitar and simple percussion for accompaniment. All before the familiar wall of sound instrumentation returns. It's a beautifully done piece that displays the quality in store for the rest of the record.
"Intra Venus" is a more straightforward composition that sounds more akin to a normal extreme metal song. The track displays more of the band's black metal roots with tremolo picked guitar work for most of the track and blast beat percussion. There's also more of a balance between the harsh and melodic vocals. The highlight of the track perhaps is 2/3 of the way through where there's dueling solos between lead guitar and violin. Both instruments are very active yet somehow don't clash with each other and each shines through clearly.
Urn overall shows Ne Obliviscaris can be more direct in their compositions while still keeping them grand. It doesn't have quite the same diversity and black metal focus their highly lauded Portal Of I album held. Nor does it contain the layers of complexity Citadel had. But it is still an excellent and more streamlined release than their previous works and has an identity all its own. And still stands head and shoulders ahead of many others in the progressive metal genre.