Portal Of I
NE OBLIVISCARIS

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NE OBLIVISCARIS - Portal Of I cover
3.86 | 13 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Progressive Metal

Tracklist

1. Tapestry of the Starless Abstract (12:01)
2. Xenoflux (10:01)
3. Of the Leper Butterflies (5:52)
4. Forget Not (12:04)
5. And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope (11:35)
6. As Icicles Fall (9:24)
7. Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise (10:43)

Total Time 71:40

Line-up/Musicians

- Brendan 'Cygnus' Brown / Bass
- Daniel 'Mortuary' Presland / Drums
- Matt Klavins / Guitars
- Benjamin Baret / Guitars (lead)
- Tim Charles / Violin, Vocals (clean)
- Xenoyr / Vocals

About this release

code666, Release: 11 June 2012

Thanks to UMUR for the addition and adg211288 for the updates

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NE OBLIVISCARIS PORTAL OF I reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

bartosso
Impressive metal for the win!

Impressive bands have been sprouting up all over the planet in the past few years. Impressive in terms of musicianship and range of influences, they create complex as hell tracks and use impressive array of instruments. Australian outfit Ne Obliviscaris is one of them for sure. I don't really need my music to impress me, though. I want to be moved, shaken even, and it doesn't matter if there's a dozen of virtuosos soloing over each other or just one shrunken guy, playing a wistful song on an old guitar.

Ne Obliviscaris have skills, will and plenty of ambition. The first big fruit of their endeavours is more of a colorful patchwork than an accomplished piece of art, though. Now, I know that's a bold statement and I need some solid arguments to back it up. The guys crafted an intricate melodic black metal album, layered with death metal reminiscent of Opeth and Enslaved. If you add some elaborate violin/Spanish guitar passages, melodramatic (somewhat metalcore) clean vocals and extended-to-the-limits build-ups to it, you have Ne Obliviscaris in all their glory. The band sounds very professional but their pursuit of progressiveness is too obvious. Tiresome overuse of double bass drum doesn't help either. Before squeezing in as many ideas as possible, the band should keep in mind that music speaks for itself. Hence, the phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" doesn't really apply here. While many ideas and themes are great, with some of them reaching the heights of beauty, they often seem detached and don't create a convincing whole.

While somewhat reminiscent of Unexpect, Ne Obliviscaris failed to create a solid basis for their ambitious ideas. Even though the songwriting is quite bold and aspires to grandeur, the music itself feels over the top at times. The album has its beautiful moments though, and I can see why it is praised by lovers of technically complex extreme prog metal. If, however, you're looking for a more mature approach to the genre, Portal of I may disappoint you a little.
Warthur
This confident debut by Ne Obliviscaris offers up an onslaught of progressive black metal reminiscent of what would happen if you took Sham Mirrors-era Arcturus, strapped a rocket to it, and fired it at the sun. Mostly eschewing the black metal tradition of ominous stage names and facepaint, this Australian crew offer up a vision of cosmic megalomania, Tim Charles and Xenolyr sharing the vocals in which they rant about goodness-knows-what whilst the band play up a storm. Whilst some prog metal groups go for a "proggy bit, metal bit, proggy bit" sort of structure, Ne Obliviscaris go for a more integrated approach, each and every second of the album standing poised between enchanting you with visions of unworldly beauty and punching your teeth in. In short, these lads are ones to watch.
UMUR
"Portal Of I" is the debut full-length studio album by Australian progressive extreme metal act Ne Obliviscaris. The album was released through code666 in June 2012. The band released the highly praised "The Aurora Veil" demo in 2007 and I´ve heard the occasional information since that they were working on a debut album, but I wasn´t counting on it to take a full five years for them to complete it. The fact that all three tracks from the demo are also included on "Portal Of I" (in re-recorded versions) makes it even more incredible that it took them five years to write four new tracks. There are probably other reasons for the long recording break, so don´t put too much into my babbling.

Not surprisingly, since all three tracks from "The Aurora Veil" are included, the music on "Portal Of I" pretty much continue down the same progressive extreme metal path as the sound on the demo. It´s majestic, dynamic, progressive and structurally challenging. The vocals alternate between raspy black metal type raw vocals and clean vocals. The latter type vocals are delivered by violinist Tim Charles. The man can sure handle the fiddle, but I´m still not too impressed by his clean vocal style or the melody lines he sings. This is purely a subjective observation though and objectively there´s nothing wrong with his vocal skills. I just have a hard time appreciating his voice and the way he uses it. Fortunately that´s only a minor issue and the rest of the music is of high quality. I´m extremely impressed by the high quality of the playing on the album and the adventurous approach to songwriting. These guys can go from aggressive blasting sections right into a mellow violin led section and make it sound natural.

At 71:40 minutes distributed over 7 tracks, "Portal Of I" is a very long album, but it´s one of those rare long albums that don´t feel too long. Too much goes on at all times, that I´m kept on my toes and my attention never wanders. Except for my slight issue with the clean vocals, the album is a really great experience if you enjoy progressive extreme metal. The sound production is clear and powerful, the musicianship is excellent and the tracks are so well written that I can´t help being very impressed by the compositional skills of the band. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is fully deserved.
adg211288
Portal of I is the debut full-length studio album by Australian extreme progressive metal act Ne Obliviscaris. The album was released in 2012, a lengthy amount of time after the band’s only prior release, the demo The Aurora Veil (2007), from which all the tracks reappear on Portal of I.

Now I suspect that like me, when one thinks of the term ‘extreme progressive metal’, the band that people most likely think of first is Opeth, but Ne Obliviscaris brings with them a very different sound to the Swedish act. It’s much wilder and I dare say adventurous. The principle behind the music is the same though – take an extreme metal genre as the base for the music, then stretch the boundaries of that genre so much that in essence the end product barely resembles it. With the case of Portal of I, there are strong black metal vibes to be found within but more glaringly is just how progressive the release is. One is expect mostly long over ten minute compositions (the shortest here is just shy of six), a mix of harsh and clean vocals from the band’s vocal double team of Xenoyr (harsh) and Tim Charles (clean) and lots and lots of violin, also played by Tim Charles. More than that the band draws in a lot of influences from both within and outside of the metal spectrum, so aside from progressive and black metal expect the odd passage to put you in mind of death metal, folk music, flamenco, and more. The band holds nothing back.

And to cut a long story short Ne Obliviscaris have brought all of this together into what I feel is one of the most unique sounding progressive metal releases I’ve heard for some time. The violin in particular makes a lot of difference in this respect, but I can’t help not give big nods to the remainder of the band as well who are all clearly musicians of high calibre. Even with such long tracks the band does not waste a single second of playing time and they fully justify the over seventy minute total running time that the seven tracks on the album make. Picking favourites in a case like this is pretty much impossible, as everything is of a total masterpiece level of quality.

With so many different sounds and moods in the album it’s near impossible to even begin to do it justice with a review. What I will say to close is that I found the album exceptional after just one listen, and further plays have just cemented my regard for it as one of 2012’s very best albums. I honestly cannot find a single fault within it, so not only is a masterpiece level rating deserved, but I unashamedly deem Portal of I worthy of full marks. With this Ne Obliviscaris fully deserves to be counted among the greats of progressive metal, or progressive music in general even.

10.0/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))

Members reviews

Gallifrey
Ne Obliviscaris - “Portal of I” 13/20

46th place album of the year 2012

Of the many metal album of the year lists I have studied in order to diversify mine, Ne Obliviscaris’ “Portal Of I” seems to be one of the common factors in many. The album, which took all of 8 years to come to life, is 72 minutes of layered, complex, and sometimes quite beautiful progressive black metal. The exact genre of this work is debatable, with elements taken from both death and symphonic metal, and various bluegrass and classical influences on Tim Charles’ violin parts.

I discovered NeO after a recent series of concerts in Australia, aptly named “Progfest”. Due to the mediocrity of the New Zealand music scene and the non-existence of the New Zealand progressive music scene, I have recently turned my focus to these Australian bands, with hope they will bring this festival over the ditch one day. This has also led me discover other great Australian bands such as Be’lakor, and especially Chaos Divine (whose shirt I am actually wearing as I type). I later come to discover that one of the faces behind this festival, and its promotion company, Welkin, is Ne Obliviscaris vocalist and violinist Tim Charles. He really deserves all the congratulations he can get.

Portal of I consists of only 7 tracks in its 72-minute lifespan, with all but one falling over the 9 minute mark, and in their field of melodic extreme metal, it immediately brings Opeth into mind. Thoughts of Akerfeldt and his men come back throughout the record, with many of the tracks following the same song structures Opeth utilise, along with a couple of riffs (a certain one in “Forget Not” comes to mind) taken directly from the Opeth book of slides and slides and occasionally palm muting. I am not entirely familiar with the black metal genre, but the parts I understand from that scene hear are the use of ‘shrieked’ vocals (as opposed to growled) and excessive double-kick drumming. I have to admit, these are two of the weaker aspects of this album, and like with this year’s other melodic black metal release (Enslaved’s “RIITIIR”), I feel the album could be stronger without, but at times it definitely works with the mood.

Like with Opeth, and other black metal bands, the metal side of the music is less solo and riff-based, and more focused on the atmosphere, but when they do break out a decent riff, it is quite memorable (the opener of “Xenoflux” and about 7 minutes into “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope” come to mind). Continuing with the focus on atmosphere, NeO often break from the pummeling of the black metal drumming to acoustic instrumental passages, again reminding of Opeth, but with more use of violin, and often all 5 instrumentalists join in without it being cluttered, to create a very ambient, almost post-rock atmosphere. These are very relaxing, especially the break in the opener “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract”, which relies on relaxed fingerpicked chords with violin solo, you become almost lost in the music.

Despite the very nice effect both the clean vocals and violin have on the music, at times the parts seem like more of an afterthought, wavering over the heavy music, rather than flowing within it. This is especially evident during “Of The Leper Butterflies”, and the last few minutes of “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract”, especially with Xenoyr’s growling underneath, often the listener is bombarded with far too many things to focus on.

I was thinking about going through this album track-by-track, but it would be over 1000 words long, and I would end up repeating myself. So I’m just going to focus on one track here. The best, the most important, and the title track. Although there aren’t any title tracks as you can see, the phrase “Ne Obliviscaris” is latin, and often used as a motto (most famously for Scottish clan Campbell), translates roughly to “Forget Not”. “Forget Not” is also a unique name for a track, because it’s the only one on the album that doesn’t have an insanely badass name (“Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise” is probably my favourite song title of all time). It is also the longest (tied with “Tapestry…”), so the band obviously wanted it to be the ‘centrepiece’, and with a 6.5-minute instrumental intro, it really does stand out.

The intro to Forget Not is the best part of the album, and one of my favourite pieces of music released this year. It focuses primarily on the violin, with all the other instruments falling around it, unlike many times in the album, where the violin feels added on the top. Tim Charles gets some of his best runs on the violin here, and the entire atmosphere of the music is incredibly relaxed. It slowly builds up to the black metal drumming and the best riff of the album. Stolen straight from the Opeth book, I honestly couldn’t care. After 5 minutes and 57 seconds of build up, that slide riff is what sells this album for you. If you didn’t want to buy it after that, you can’t hear right.

And that’s not it. Less than half of the song completed, “Forget Not” now goes into metal mode, but it is still as melodic as ever, but this time it’s Tim Charles’ vocals in the focus, with Xenoyr’s growls crunching underneath. The thundering climax of the song showcases some of Charles’ best vocal work.

A masterpiece of how to build a song, and have every piece of the build up pay of with the combination of the Opeth riff and Tim Charles’ wonderful tenor. The return of the violin at the end, this time soaring over the top of an epic black metal part is truly wonderful. This is the part when you really need to have the bass down a bit, because otherwise you’ll miss it. This is a song I think everyone should hear. No matter your opinion on black metal, this is a masterpiece of music.

This review has been rather positive, and I’m sure anyone (no one?) who has read the whole thing is wondering how it reflects my rating of 13/20. This is just my opinion of it, because I dislike growls and the black metal drumming. Both of these dislikes are petty, but it does affect my lists and rankings. However, I feel every time I listen to this, it should be higher, and in time I’m sure it will move up. Like with any über-complex album, the more you listen, the more you hear and understand, and the more beautiful it becomes.

How many times have I played this album: 10 Will I play it again after this: Yes. Plenty of times. And that, I think, is the sign of a great album, regardless about what my ranking gives it.

Originally posted on my facebook page/blog http://www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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  • Primeval Scum
  • IMPF2112
  • Wilytank
  • 666sharon666
  • Xaxaar
  • NorseGangsta
  • sauromat
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