The riffs are taut, the fuzz is well and truly brought, and it’s a hell …
Focusing on the themes of isolation and departure, the latest album from Ne Obliviscaris features some of the bleakest moments the band has captured to date.
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Typically epic in scope, Exul is arguably more cohesive than some of their previous work and somewhat more creatively inspired than Urn, on which Ne O came dangerously close to stagnation at times.
Exul’s journey into darkness begins with ominous drumming and dark metal riffing soon joined by strings weaving a melancholy theme before plunging into an emotional ebb and flow of acoustics, clashing voices and moments of stark heaviness. The blending of Tim Charles’ higher clean register and Xenoyr’s darker growls add the sonic depth to heighten and maintain the tension across the vast playing time. The two part Misericorde into which it segues is the album’s centrepiece and pinnacle, the first dominated by technical death metal ferocity and the dark and withering roar of Xenoyr.
Ne Obliviscaris’ most desolate outing, a bleak triumph from a band who have awakened a darker heart within themselves.
The second chapter provides the anthesis, a mostly instrumental track where Ne Obliviscaris fully explore their classical side as the play off between violins and violas build a mournful but portentous atmosphere finally shattered by a powerful crescendo. Exul’s second half takes less stylistic diversions than the first, but the chaotic hammering of death metal riffs across arpeggiated acoustic guitar chords and popping bass lines two-thirds of the way through Suspyre yield an evocative climax to that song’s intent and Graal is a towering testament to the band’s ability to contrast beauty and belligerence, fragility and malevolence. Anhedonia provides a harrowing and unsettling thematic finale to what is undoubtedly Ne Obliviscaris’ most desolate outing, a bleak triumph from a band who have awakened a darker heart within themselves.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Equus, Misericorde I – As the Flesh Falls, Misericorde II – Anatomy of Quiescence
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