Released by: Season Of Mist
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Progressive Extreme Metal
Xen- Harsh Vocals
Tim Charles – Clean Vocals, Violin, Viola & Keyboards
Benjamin Baret- Lead Guitars
Matthew Klavins- Guitar
Martino Garattoni – Bass
Dan Presland- Drums
Additional Violin on tracks 1, 2 & 3 performed by Emma Charles
Additional vocals on Track 1 performed by Alana K Vocal
Cello on Tracks 1 & 4 performed by Dalai Theofilopoulou
Cover artwork: Xen
2. Misericorde I – As The Flesh Falls
3. Misericorde II – Anatomy Of Quiescence
Six years after the release of “Urn” in 2017, “Exul” has finally arrived and was released earlier this year. The lengthy delay in the release of Ne Obliviscaris’ fourth full-length album can be attributed in part to the impact of the pandemic. By the second half of 2019, nearly all the songs for the album had already been written, with plans for recording in 2020. However, everything came to a halt at that point. Fortunately, the delay didn’t result in cancellation, and now fans can relish in the band’s fresh and high-quality progressive extreme metal, originating from Australia.
This album serves as the final one featuring the departed drummer Daniel Presland (known for his work in Infinite Density and Wheelturner) and introduces the Italian bassist Martino Garattoni (associated with Ancient Bards and The Chronicles Project). It is filled with distinctive elements that set Ne Obliviscaris apart from other progressive extreme metal bands. These distinctive elements encompass exotic rhythmic details, frequent integration of the violin, the interplay between Tim Charles’ clear vocals and Xenoyr’s extreme vocals, intricate guitar chord progressions, and melodious basslines. The album maintains the epic essence characteristic of their music. In this respect, the album opens in a familiar manner with the twelve-minute track “Equus,” allowing fans to confidently invest in this fourth LP.
Nevertheless, there are subtle shifts in focus. The album features more layered violin sections and certain segments are more prolonged and serene compared to the band’s customary style (e.g., “Equus” and “Misericorde II – Anatomy Of Quiescence”). Notably, Garattoni’s melodic basslines stand out prominently in the transparent mix. In “Suspyre,” for instance, his bass riff, along with the alternating guitar and violin solos in the latter part of the song, elevates it to a remarkable level. While his contributions occasionally lend a sense of busyness to the music, as observed in “Misericorde I – As The Flesh Falls,” they also bring a fresh dimension. This is particularly evident in the brutal track “Graal,” which incorporates elements of melodic death, classical music, blackened death, Opeth, a splendid guitar solo, and a powerful climax. It’s a pity that the concluding guitar picking is so brief, as there was potential for further exploration.
The technical prowess of the band members has once again ascended. This improvement is evident not only in the rhythm section and precise execution but also in the enhanced vocal articulation of Xenoyr and the clean singing of Tim Charles. In particular, Tim Charles showcases considerable progress in his vocal abilities, which is splendidly emphasized in the production. This enhancement also extends to his violin contributions and those of his sister Emma, as exemplified in “Misericorde II – Anatomy Of Quiescence.” Occasionally, this track bears a resemblance to Leprous, thanks to the string sections and the bluesy guitar solo. Together with Tim Charles’ clean vocals, these elements create the most impressive moments.
In conclusion, “Exul” strikes a balance between familiarity and innovation. Notably, it introduces three new standout tracks to Ne Obliviscaris’ discography with “Equus,” “Graal,” and the beautiful “Misericorde II – Anatomy Of Quiescence.” While other tracks do not lag far behind, the slightly busy nature of the album affects its overall cohesion, leading to a slightly lower rating. Nonetheless, there is still ample material to appreciate, from the technically impressive performances to the captivating melodies and transitions, as exemplified in “Suspyre.” Although this album provides fans with content to enjoy for some time, one can only hope that it won’t be another six years before the release of the next installment.
Written by: Shadow Editor