Ne Obliviscaris - Urn
Season Of Mist
Progressive Black Metal
6 songs (45' 56")
Release year: 2017
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Andy

We haven't reviewed a Ne Obliviscaris album in some time, but Urn, which came out just a few days ago, shows that the buzz-worthy progressive metallers are showing no signs of slowing down. An intricate, symphonic affair, Urn's violin-driven black metal is filled with variety that takes the listener all over the spectrum in mood and feel. The one thing you won't get out of it is mindless pleasure; this is thinking man's metal for sure.

As before, Tim Charles' violin gets a big part here, but it blends a little better with the rest of the music than it used to. It is strange to again hear black-metal riffing blasting away underneath his clean and slightly nasal voice, but it fits. Of course, the black metal is only one layer of a dozen or so. Clean picking slides away to reveal bass soloing, which gives way to solo shredding. Ne Obliviscaris stuffs the album with these layers, and I must say they do it well. As if conscious of potentially losing the listener's interest, the band ensures that nothing sticks around for very long; just as one portion of a track is really getting up a head of steam, it fades away to move on to a new one. Eyrie, the longest and one of the best tracks on the album, does this maybe eight times through the song.

Urn doesn't have a strong atmosphere, because of this channel-surfing approach to the musical arrangement and, ironically, because the instrumental work is so good. The last time I went to an Opeth show, it was amazing, but the crowd was standing quietly as the band played, or even sitting in their seats watching, which definitely isn't ordinary metal show behavior. Urn has a similar vibe, but this isn't a bad thing; it just means this is an album to admire on high-quality headphones, listening to the fantastic interplay between the instruments, rather than doing a lot of headbanging to. Even the extreme-metal sections such as the riffing at the start of the two-part title track are so smoothly mixed, so nicely put together, that their usual sledgehammer effect is diluted. In return, however, you get some of the best violin-and-guitar solo duels you'll ever hear on a heavy metal album, not to mention every influence they can possibly cram into one album, from jazz to 70s prog to neoclassical.

Even with all the fancy flourishes, listeners needing a good heavy riff won't be entirely forgotten: Part Two of Urn delivers a larger share of chunky riffing than the other tracks, backed by Daniel Presland's high-speed drum fills. While it's some pretty dense fare, Urn feels like it's been made more accessible than its predecessors without sacrificing either its progressive complexity or its extreme roots.


Killing Songs :
Intra Venus, Eyrie
Andy quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Ne Obliviscaris that we have reviewed:
Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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