Code 666 (2012)
Forming in 2003, the six piece extreme metal band from Australia Ne Obliviscaris (pronounced Nay Ob-li-vis-kar-is for those wondering…) appear to be one of those groups that few will understand, and yet those who do will fervently follow every musical move these musicians make. To describe their style accurately appears impossible- melodic and tender with clean vocals one moment, blasting death the next- with nuances of thrash, black, avant-garde, jazz, and flamenco parts. A full time violin player goes toe to toe in neo-classical meets Robbie Steinhardt (Kansas) form- many times taking the instrumental lead against the sonic assault steamrolling from the intense strumming, dissonance in chord sequences and hyper kinetic percussion salvos.
Most of the 6 songs on “Portal Of I” are over the 10 minute mark- so this is not the music for you if your preference lies in repetitive three chord structures and simplistic, catchy choruses. Ne Obliviscaris doesn’t beat your brain in with super complex technicality- they instead set diverse mood landscapes, allowing the listener to escape or immerse themselves within these arrangements. The dual extreme/clean vocal delivery from lyricist Xenoyr and violinist Tim Charles does not resemble the In Flames/Soilwork textbook style- the extreme brutality receives the lion’s share of the workload, and when Tim chimes in with his clean work it’s done in an introspective demeanor.
When it comes to extreme progressive death metal, most are quick to place Opeth in the list of reference points. Ne Obliviscaris do not clone Opeth- they take some of the 70’s reference points into an epic, outer world experience for your ears, but I think the flamenco and jazz edge on a song like “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope” combined with the turn on a dime black metal riffs to progressive soloing for “Of The Leper Butterflies” makes every return engagement exhilarating, spine tingling- and beyond entertainment.
There’s a reason why Australia is gaining significant attention for its domestic output. The government grant money aids the final product, as brilliant songwriting and performances deserve an equally potent production, mixing and mastering job. Watching video of some of these songs in a live environment, this six-piece will not remain remote or obscure for long. Passionate, engaging, uplifting, risk-taking, and an album that should gain plenty of year end (and decade end) accolades- “Portal Of I” will not be the last we hear from this upper tier extreme metal act.
Rating: 6 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe