Ne Obliviscaris is back with “Citadel,” their second album and first release for label Season of Mist, which seems to be signing all the upcoming progressive metal talent. Ne Obliviscaris’ first album, “Portal of I,” was one of my favorite albums of 2012, so I have been anxiously awaiting the follow-up. “Citadel” finds the band taking their progressive metal sound even further into the prog world. It’s bigger, heavier, more melodic and more extreme. You’d forgive a recently signed band for trying to make their sound more “mainstream,” but Ne Obliviscaris have done just the opposite.
“Citadel” has six tracks that cover only three songs: “Painters of the Tempest” (in three parts), “Pyrrhic,” and “Devour Me, Colossus” (in two parts). The first and third parts of “Painters of the Tempest” serve as an intro and outro respectively, while the second part of “Devour Me, Colossus” is both an outro to the song and a nice conclusion to the entire record. It takes guts to release tracks this expansive and Ne Obliviscaris have the talent to pull it off.
The elements that make Ne Obliviscaris unique are quite apparent from the start. The harsh vocals of Marc "Xenoyr" Campbell are razor sharp and the Devin Townsend-like clean vocals of violinist Tim Charles are stronger than ever. The two mix their very distinct styles perfectly on the massive “Painters of the Tempest,” which goes from sonic blasts of brutality to gentle, proggy, violin-led landscapes. The band has some similarities to Between the Buried and Me in their approach to progressive metal, but their transitions are much smoother than BTBAM.
Ne Obliviscaris is made up of immensely talented musicians, with drummer Daniel Presland being the driving force a band like this NEEDS. Listen to the blitz attack at the start of “Pyrrhic,” complete with his blast beats and a passionate violin solo by Tim Charles over the top of it all. No one else can or would try this!
The bottom line is that with “Citadel,” the band effortlessly mixes their love of thrash, blackened death metal, classical and jazz music. Ne Obliviscaris are a force to be reckoned with, and prove that a violin can lead an extreme metal band. They are another great band from Australia that should be required listening for the rest of the world.